VA extends Cerner rollout to 2028, taking it 'slow and steady'

The Department of Veteran Affairs will use the full 10 years of its contract with Cerner to develop and deploy an EHR across its network, according to FedScoop.

Officials and lawmakers met March 6 to discuss the timeline of the project. Program leaders have been feeling pressure from Cerner, which wants to speed up the processes, according to John Wisdom, executive director of the VA's Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization.

"We're holding them back," Mr. Wisdom said, according to the report. However, he remains confident that "slow and steady" is the way to approach this task.

The VA is similar to the Defense Department's EHR rollout, which took seven years to deploy at 55 medical centers. Within its 10-year contract, which is set to end in 2028, the VA will implement its new EHR at more than 170 medical centers.

"My job is to balance cost, schedule and performance with risk," Mr. Wisdom said at the meeting. "Risk is something that we must assess."

Although the VA is taking longer than Cerner, the office understands the urgency to develop the new EHR. The first three VA medical centers in the Pacific Northwest will test the EHR's initial operational capabilities in March 2020.

Mr. Wisdom told FedScoop  he didn't want care to veterans to be disrupted by an overly aggressive timeline, and he preferred waiting till the Pacific Northwest testing was over "to ascertain what efficiencies can be gained."

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