GAO: VA spent $3B on VistA EHR since 2015

Jessica Kim Cohen - Print  | 

The Government Accountability Office released a report June 26 on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' impending transition to a Cerner EHR.

VA Secretary David J. Shulkin, MD, revealed plans to replace the agency's homegrown EHR VistA with a Cerner system in June 2017. The GAO's report, part of an ongoing review, highlights its preliminary observations regarding the VA's preparation for the Cerner EHR transition.

Here are three insights from the report:

1. The GAO noted the VA has begun preparation for its transition to a new EHR, including clarifying its approach to interoperability and establishing governance for the new program. The VA is also developing a framework for joint governance with the U.S. Department of Defense, which has already begun deploying Cerner.

2. One of the VA's challenges is identifying the scope of system components that need to be replaced by the Cerner system. There's no single information source that fully defines the scope of VistA, according to the report, in part due to differences in various VA facilities' EHRs.

3. VistA, which is more than 30 years old, has been costly for the VA to maintain. The EHR system and its related costs totaled nearly $3 billion during fiscal years 2015, 2016 and 2017, according to VA officials.

To access the GAO's report, click here.

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