VA, DOD launch joint audit of Cerner EHR interoperability efforts  

The Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs' inspectors general will begin a joint audit this month to assess the agencies' progress achieving interoperability between their Cerner-built EHR systems, according to a Feb. 24 letter.

The objective of the audit "is to determine the extent to which the actions taken by the DOD and VA in acquiring and implementing a common, commercial EHR system and supporting architecture will achieve interoperability among the departments and with external healthcare providers," the memorandum states.

VA and DOD are under separate contracts with Cerner to develop and deploy interoperable EHR systems across their care networks. Earlier this month, VA confirmed delays with the rollout of its new system, which was scheduled to deploy March 28 at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, Wash. The department postponed the go-live for the end of April because it needs more time to finish building the system to ensure users are properly trained.

DOD is approaching the second wave of its Cerner go-live, with deployments scheduled at 25 sites in June. The department launched the EHR, dubbed MHS Genesis, at four sites in California and Idaho in September 2019. The successful rollout came more than two years after DOD's initial implementation attempt in February 2017, which was ultimately delayed due to clinician reports of workflow problems such as issues with lab report requests.

VA and DOD will perform the audit at various locations, including the Offices of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Defense Health Agency, VA Office of EHR Modernization and DOD/VA Federal EHR Modernization Program Office.

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