The Veterans Affairs Department will begin exchanging patient medical records this month with Kaiser Permanente as part of a demonstration of large-scale health data exchange, agency officials announced. The pilot program connects Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect and the VA’s electronic health record system, known as VistA, two of the largest electronic health record systems in the country. The VA is participating in a dialogue with industry on the possibility of making VistA available to the private sector. The VA-Kaiser Electronic Health Record system will exchange information using the federal government’s Nationwide Health Information Network and its set of security and interoperability protocols created by the Health and Human Services Department. The goal is to share VA patient data with private-sector health care providers, the VA Secretary said in a news release. The Defense Department will join in the demonstration in early 2010. Source: