VA Cerner EHR rollout to experience months-long delay  

Department of Veterans Affairs' March 2020 Cerner EHR go live is expected to be partially or fully delayed until October, according to Politico's Morning eHealth newsletter.

The rollout, which is scheduled for three VA medical centers in Spokane, Wash., and Seattle in March 2020 "faces significant delays and unanticipated headaches," three sources with detailed knowledge of the project told Politico. The report comes a few weeks after VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said the department is on track for the 10-year, $16 billion implementation.

VA will split the initial 2020 rollout into two blocks, the first may go live in March and April while the second would launch it October, according to the report. This new plan would require the VA to provide limited Cerner software to clinicians involved with the first phase, which may delay the whole project until October.

VA declined to comment to Politico about whether it plans to delay the project start date, but provided the following statement: "[VA] is continually evaluating its path forward based on lessons learned from the Department of Defense and commercial implementations. We are considering our options."

VA's new Cerner-based EHR will be interoperable with the DOD's new system. DOD also faced delays to its Cerner rollout after implementing the system at select locations in February 2017. The department paused the project the following January after clinician reports of workflow problems, including issues with lab report requests. DOD will now go live on its new EHR in September at four bases in California and Idaho.

In response to the report of the anticipated VA EHR implementation delay, a Cerner spokesperson told Politico "[VA is] finalizing their [rollout] strategy" and "[is] already ahead of where other clients would typically be at this point in implementation. We are confident we are on the track."

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