Joint exchange of health information enables access to vital information

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Joint exchange of health information

If you become ill, ill, or injured, your old medical records may contain vital information that could help a doctor save your life.

And even when there’s no emergency, full access to medical history — like allergies, lab results, or drug prescriptions — is essential for doctors to provide top-notch healthcare. .

Beneficiaries of the military health system have the benefit of being included in the Joint Health Information Exchange, a secure gateway launched in 2020 to connect the health information systems of the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs and other federal entities among themselves and with private sector partners.

This exchange allows all MHS health care providers and other partners to access specific patient health information that may be helpful when providing care.

Common HIE data is highly secure. The exchange adheres to the most rigorous privacy and security standards to ensure that your information is only accessible to healthcare professionals who need it.

Access to information can improve the quality of care, especially when beneficiaries receive health care outside the MHS network. The joint HIE is a way for these non-MHS providers to learn about their patient’s medical history and make informed care decisions, said Air Force Col. Jeffrey Ford, chief corporate coordination at the Defense Health Agency.

“The Joint HIE brings together all health information from the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, and U.S. Coast Guard under one common gateway,” said Crystal Baum, HIE product co-owner at Federal Electronic Health Record Modernization. Office.

“So when a private sector provider needs data from a particular patient, they query the common HIE to get that data.

The common HIE allows the private sector a single point of access to DOD/VA/USCG data, she added.

“as an intermediary between the common HIE and the partners of the wider network.”

Providers who have a complete view of a patient’s medical history are better able to make informed decisions about the patient’s plan of care, especially during emergency situations, Baum said.

This could be particularly important in the event of an accident when the patient may be unconscious, for example. Being part of the National Healthcare Exchange means that the provider treating the oblivious beneficiary can query the data they need from the network if they are a participating partner.

What information is shared?

The national network of exchange partners provides secure access to clinical information for more than 120 million patients nationwide.

Anyone who has been treated in a military hospital or clinic within the past 20 years has a medical record that is accessible to DOD and VA providers, as well as all private sector partners participating in the joint HIE and network national health care exchange partners. .

Information ranges from drug prescriptions and allergies to illnesses, lab results, vaccines, past medical procedures, and clinical notes.


Active duty members are required to keep their medical records accessible to the common HIE. But for other MHS recipients, it’s optional.

Despite the benefits, family members and other non-working beneficiaries who do not wish to have their health information shared with providers outside of MHS can opt out by completing an opt-out letter and emailing it. position at DHA headquarters.

Recipients should keep in mind that choosing to opt out will prevent clinicians from electronically accessing their health information through partner exchange networks for any reason, even in an emergency, said Ford. This means providers may not have access to vital information.

If recipients who previously opted out decide to re-enroll, they can do so by completing an opt-in letter and mailing it to DHA. This supersedes any previous withdrawal requests and re-establishes beneficiaries’ participation in the exchange networks, confirming that their medical information can be viewed by medical providers participating in the network.

For more information, talk to your healthcare provider or access resources on the TRICARE website and at

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