Boost for Record Sharing as VA Joins NATE

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has joined the National Association for Trusted Exchange (NATE), a not-for-profit membership association “focused on enabling trusted exchange among organizations and individuals with differing regulatory environments and exchange preferences,” according to NATE’s website.

The VA’s membership will give the association a boost in its endeavors as it brings with it a history of working to support its patients’ rights to access their medical records. “When many people feel that getting access to their health information is impossible, VA is leading the way, yet again, demonstrating their commitment to share data when and where it is requested by the Veteran,” said NATE Chief Executive Officer Aaron Seib in a press release.

As a member of NATE, the VA will be able to collaborate on policies and procedures for sharing health information with consumers outside of the VA system, according to the release. As a majority of veterans receive at least a portion of their care from non-VA facilities, improved coordination of care is expected.

“Participating in NATE allows VA to continue to be a national leader in enabling our Veteran patients to take control over their health information and become informed and active partners in their overall healthcare,” said VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. David Shulkin in the release. The VA’s membership includes participation in NATE’s trust bundles with Direct Messaging protocols for secure exchange of information between providers’ electronic health records and consumer-facing applications, which is meant to help consumers do what they want with their own data. This additional functionality will complement the VA’s current DirectTrust membership for secure messaging between providers.

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