VA confirms delays for Cerner EHR rollout, scheduling tool

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Department of Veterans Affairs announced this week that it will push back its Cerner EHR rollout in the Pacific Northwest, according to Politco's Morning eHealth Sept. 27 newsletter.

The Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, Wash., is scheduled to deploy the new EHR system in March 2020. However, the go lives at VA hospitals in Seattle and Tacoma, Wash., will be delayed until October next year, according to the report.

VA formed a $16 billion agreement with Cerner in 2018 to develop and deploy a new EHR system across its care network. In September, VA unveiled its new training program created to support the department's EHR modernization efforts and Cerner system implementation.

VA is also delaying the rollout of its Cerner-developed appointment scheduling tool, which was initially scheduled to deploy across all VA medical facilities by 2023, according to FedScoop. The new anticipated launch date is scheduled for 2025, and the delay is not expected to add any additional cost to the project, said Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev., chairwoman of the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Technology Modernization, the publication reports.

In 2015, VA signed a $624-million deal with Epic to use its scheduling software. The department subsequently scrapped the scheduling software contract with Epic after hiring Cerner to overhaul its EHR system, opting to use Cerner's scheduling tool instead.   

VA's decision to delay its Cerner scheduling tool rollout was reached after the department performed a deeper analysis of the timeline, said John Windom, executive director of VA's EHR modernization office, according to FedScoop.

"The three-year deployment track was a number drawn without all of the comprehensive research necessary to develop an integrated schedule," Mr. Windom said. "Five years is more appropriate … We are mitigating risk in the best interest of our veterans and we think we have a prospective timeline that does that and delivers the respective capabilities."

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