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InterSystems Helps U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Ensure Early Veteran Access to COVID-19 Vaccine

InterSystems empowers VA with comprehensive COVID-19 clinical data reports, accelerating delivery of vaccine to thousands of veterans and clinicians

Since COVID-19 arrived in the United States in early 2020, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been diligently working to protect one of the nation’s most vulnerable populations: veterans. With support from InterSystems, a creative data technology provider dedicated to helping customers solve the most critical scalability, interoperability, and speed problems, VA received early access to the COVID-19 vaccine, while treating nearly 130,000 COVID-19 cases in veterans, employees, and other members of the VA community.

“VA provides healthcare for more than nine million veterans each year, and this population has been one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic”

The nationwide deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine is one of the largest undertakings in the history of the modern healthcare industry. The effective distribution of the vaccine requires timely, clean and actionable data to identify and ensure the most at-risk communities are first in line. However, the effective collection and integration of disparate sources of patient and clinical data remains a challenge for many healthcare organizations.

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In Q2 2020, VA launched InterSystems VDIF EP (Veterans Data Integration and Federation Enterprise Platform) based on InterSystems HealthShare to develop longitudinal patient records, which are now available to providers within Veterans Health Administration (VHA). The InterSystems VDIF EP solution was instrumental in enabling VA to quickly and accurately identify veterans and clinicians within VA’s health delivery network who contracted the virus. InterSystems VDIF EP aggregated and normalized thousands of patient records in VA’s existing electronic medical record (EMR) systems to file a required CDC report that demonstrated the critical need for VA to be included in the first wave of the vaccine distribution.

“VA provides healthcare for more than nine million veterans each year, and this population has been one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said George Hou, head of solutions for the Department of Veterans Affairs at InterSystems. “There are currently more than 17,000 active VA COVID-19 cases, totaling nearly 130,000 cases to date. Leveraging the reports generated by InterSystems VDIF EP, we were able to quickly compile and share comprehensive, accurate COVID-19 case data with the CDC, as a prerequisite for early distribution of the vaccine at VA facilities.”

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In addition to the work InterSystems and VA accomplished in regards to vaccine distribution, VA also leveraged InterSystems technology throughout the pandemic to assist in the deployment of resources based on the location of spikes in positive COVID-19 cases, increases in requests for tests, availability of personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, negative pressure rooms and rooms that could easily be made negative pressure rooms, as well as current locations and availability of compassionate care physicians.

“In the midst of a pandemic, the application of clean, normalized, and actionable data provides the insights required to better understand the current situation and inform decisions on the best course of action moving forward,” said Don Woodlock, vice president of Healthcare Solutions at InterSystems. “Without InterSystems HealthShare technology enabling VDIF EP, the collection and transformation of patient record data into actionable insights is not possible. As a partner of VA for more than 40 years, we are proud to support our nation’s veterans during this unprecedented time and help them with the timely delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Based on InterSystems HealthShare®, VDIF aggregates and normalizes data from 130 different EMR instances supporting 172 VA medical centers and 1,074 outpatient clinics. The VDIF project was led by VA Office of Information Technology (OIT), in conjunction with the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) together with Cambridge, Mass.-based InterSystems Corporation, with implementation by Ready Computing.

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