Tom Munnecke, Ingeborg Kuhn, George Boyden, Beth Teeple showing off the first VA/DoD Health IT interface
1985... This was a PDP 11/34 computer that was the first VA/DoD Sharing system between the VA and the DoD, from March Air Force Base Hospital and Loma Linda VA. This demo of VA software in a DoD facility was a key factor in Congress' decision to hold a competition including the VA DHCP software for the Composite Health Care System. then Lt. Beth Teeple was director of Patient Affairs at March AFB, and invoked Rep. Sonny Montgomery's VA/DoD Sharing agreement to trigger the sharing between VA and DoD. She also formed "Moses' Blackbirds" as an offshoot of the Underground Railroad, but the organization didn't thrive in the military environment, it seems. George Boyden was the director of DP at Loma Linda VA medical center, and Ingeborg Kuhn was the director of the San Francisco Information Systems Center, who was supposedly managing me while I was at Loma Linda VA.
This interface used an SMTP interface - a novel technology at the time. I wrote one of the first SMTP processors for MailMan, working closely with Jon Postel. I registered VA.GOV through a phone call with Jon, and took what I think is the first civilian agency email address: email@example.com
This interface pioneered a number of technologies that are still being explored today: the use of a metadata-driven exchange model (the Data Dictionary used by the FileMan), the use of SMTP (used by HHS Direct program today), and the use of serialization standards (We didn't have XML and JSON back then, so I had to invent FileGrams and PackMan instead)
Here is a 2011 oral history interview with Beth Whitney-Teeple and myself at www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FfzIvNjY1o
This system was intensively studied by Congressional Staffers, the GAO, VA, and Arthur D. Little, and got rave reviews from all concerned. But, it was shut down due to bureaucratic turf wars.