VA Oracle Cerner EHR hasn't had an outage in 6 months

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Oracle Cerner EHR hasn't had a complete outage in more than six months but has to make improvements before officials are fully comfortable rolling it out, Federal News Network reported.

The EHR vendor still has to meet a federal requirement that it run incident-free 95% of the time, according to the Nov. 15 story. The VA's yearslong implementation of the EHR has been plagued with problems, with the agency spending nearly $4 billion to deploy it at just five small and medium-sized medical centers.

Kurt DelBene, the VA's CIO and assistant secretary for IT, told a House committee part of the issue has been all the fixes made to the EHR, the news outlet reported. The VA is also the first health system to be getting Oracle Cerner's consolidated mail outpatient pharmacy function, and is heavily customizing the EHR.

"It's a well-established axiom of software development that systems stabilize when the rate of change made in the system decreases," Mr. DelBene said at the meeting covered by Federal News Network. "The rate of change is still very high, resulting in more instances than we would like."

A big test will be the upcoming launch of the EHR in March at Capt. James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in Chicago, according to the story. The hopes are high for how this system can help veterans.

"The EHR will serve them from the day they begin their military service through the rest of their lives," Mr. DelBene told the House committee, the news outlet reported.

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