Implications for informatics given expanding access to care for Veterans and other populations

J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2015 Jul;22(4):917-20. doi: 10.1093/jamia/ocv019. Epub 2015 Mar 31.


Recent investigations into appointment scheduling within facilities operated by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) illuminate systemic challenges in meeting its goal of providing timely access to care for all Veterans. In the wake of these investigations, new policies have been enacted to expand access to care at VA facilities as well as non-VA facilities if the VA is unable to provide access within a reasonable timeframe or a Veteran lives more than 40 miles from a VA medical facility. These policies are similar to broader health reform efforts that seek to expand access to care for other vulnerable populations. In this perspective, we discuss the informatics implications of expanded access within the VA and its wider applicability across the US health system. Health systems will require robust health information exchange, to maintain coordination while access to care is expanded. Existing informatics research can guide short-term implementation; furthermore, new research is needed to generate evidence about how best to achieve the long-term aim of expanded access to care.

Keywords: health services accessibility; health services research; medical informatics; veterans health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Health Information Exchange
  • Health Services Accessibility / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Health Services Accessibility / organization & administration
  • Health Services Research
  • Hospitals, Veterans / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Medical Informatics*
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized
  • United States
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Veterans* / legislation & jurisprudence