DOD expands Cerner EHR project to new sites

The U.S. Defense Department began testing its new Cerner EHR at a second set of pilot sites — five months after a government watchdog report deemed the new system "not operationally effective" and lacking "enough workable functionality," according to the Federal Times.

The DOD's Cerner project follows a wave model, during which it will roll out the new EHR to new sites over the next five years in roughly 20 phases. Deployment at the four new sites — California's Naval Health Clinic Lemoore, Travis Air Force Base and Presidio of Monterey, along with Idaho's Mountain Home Air Force Base — had been delayed as the agency worked out technical issues identified at the previous sites.

The problems reported during the initial pilot fell into three categories: users didn't like the new system; users requested additional improvements; or users found errors in design, Stacy Cummings, head of the Program Executive Office for Defense Healthcare Management Systems, told the Federal Times.

To address the issues, Ms. Cummings said the DOD focused on training its staff more thoroughly and providing a more detailed explanation on why the system was changing.

DOD officials are confident the improved training and communication will lead to fewer conflicts and concerns at the next sites.

"For the first [testing] sites we focused on kind of a button-ology approach, versus training against the workflows in the context of each role," said Jerry Hogge, senior vice president of military and health solutions at Leidos Health, which is facilitating the DOD's contract with Cerner. "So that's the most fundamental change: the pacing and the timing of the training, the intensity of the at-the-elbow support, the systems of trainers post go-live."

"As people go through the learning curve process, they get past the frustration of not knowing where to click or where to look at on the screen. People get more efficient, and there's acceptance of a new way of doing things," Mr. Hogge added when speaking with the Federal Times.

More articles on EHRs:

Cerner names physician 'all-stars' from MedStar Health, Dignity Health, more
VA has 90 days to decide what to do with its Epic-Leidos scheduling system contact
VA appoints physician to lead integration for its EHR project

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