Two deaths possibly tied to flawed Oracle Cerner VA EHR rollout, House members say

Three members of Congress wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs expressing concerns that the problematic rollout of the Oracle Cerner EHR at the agency could have played a role in the deaths of two veterans.

U.S. Reps. Mike Bost, R-Ill., Mike Carey, R-Ohio, and Troy Balderson, R-Ohio, said they had "grave concerns" after visiting the Chalmers P. Wylie VA Ambulatory Care Center in Columbus, Ohio.

They said they learned that one patient died of hypoxia after the EHR provided incorrect tracking information for an antibiotic that he was supposed to but never received. Meanwhile, another patient missed an appointment but was not transferred to the EHR's cancellation/no-show list and notification system and later died after having alcohol withdrawal symptoms, they said.

"It was irresponsible to subject our veterans to such a flawed and dangerous system, and the situation in Columbus and the other VA medical centers using Cerner is unacceptable," they wrote Nov. 15. They asked for more information about the circumstances surrounding the patients' care by Dec. 2.

The Oracle Cerner EHR implementation at the VA has been plagued with challenges including latency, slowness and scheduling difficulties.

Asked for comment, a VA spokesperson referred Becker's to an Oct. 13 announcement that upcoming EHR deployments would be delayed until June 2023. Oracle Cerner didn't respond to a request from Becker's for comment.

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