VA, DOD progress on EHR systems integration is 'terrible,' lawmakers say

Some lawmakers are beginning to express frustration over the pace of the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense's progress on developing an interoperable EHR system, Military.com reports.

At a May 1 House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the DOD's proposed fiscal year 2020 budget, Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, told Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan that she does not "… ever recall being as outraged about an issue," than she is about the EHR program, according to the report.

In 2018, the VA entered into a 10-year partnership with Cerner to develop and deploy an EHR across its care network. The contract covers a 10-year rollout at $16 billion. The DOD also has a contract with Cerner, which aims to transitioning the agency to the new EHR by 2022. The DOD initially began rolling out the system at select facilities in February 2017, however, it experienced various technical and workflow issues which delayed the rollout until early 2019.

Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., also voiced concern over the projects' delays. "Veterans are suffering because of bureaucratic crap," he said, according to the report.

Mr. Shanahan acknowledged the lawmakers' concerns at the meeting and said pilot programs aimed toward supporting the EHRs compatibility are currently underway at Tacoma, Wash.-based Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Naval Base Kitsap in Bremerton, Wash., Oak Harbor. Wash.-based Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and Fairchild (Wash.) Air Force Base, according to the report. He added that the pilot programs have been successful, and next steps include putting them in place at various California institutions this fall.

"I can give you the commitment that these corrective actions and the lessons learned will be carried forward," Mr. Shanahan said.

More articles on EHRs:
Meditech revenue dips 5% for Q1: 4 things to know
Nearly half of physicians think EHRs have decreased quality of care, survey finds  
KLAS: Epic, Cerner dominate EMR market share

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