VA wraps up $16B EHR rollout review, confirms it will stay with Cerner: 6 things to know

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The Department of Veterans Affairs has wrapped up a three-month long EHR Modernization Strategic Review on its Cerner rollout, yet lawmakers expressed concern the review isn't enough to recover from the multibillion-dollar initiative.

Six things to know:

  1. VA Secretary Denis McDonough said it will take another two weeks to determine the changes the modernization program needs to make based on the recommendations in the review, according to a June 30 FedScoop report.

  2. However, Mr. McDonough confirmed June 30 the VA will continue to work with Cerner for the initiative. "We are going to stick with this technology. … We are ready to continue with that," Mr. McDonough said.

  3. After a slew of rollout failures, the VA paused the launch for the third time to start an internal review. In a note to Mr. McDonough, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., said she witnessed "pleas for help" after the EHR rollout because of prescription mix-ups, lack of staff training and confusion with the patient portal at the VA's Spokane hospital. 

  4. Ms. McMorris Rodgers commended Mr. McDonough's call to pause the program.

    "The VA made the right decision when it paused the EHRM and ordered a strategic review," she said in a June 30 news release. "Problems that have been identified at Mann-Grandstaff must be resolved before the system is deployed at additional VA sites. Transparency around the findings of the strategic review and accountability within the VA will be vital for righting the ship, as well as delivering Eastern Washington veterans the care they deserve."

  5. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., a ranking member of the House Veterans Affairs committee, was also pleased by the pause but issued concern about the rollout moving forward.

    "[The] VA must demonstrate to Congress and veterans that this review was successful, and those problems are fixed," Mr. Bost said in the same news release. "Adjusting the organizational chart is not enough. The EHR must improve. We also expect transparency and reliability in the schedule and cost estimate. This is already a multibillion-dollar effort. We owe it to veterans and taxpayers to make certain that it is a good and fruitful investment."

  6. The next VA locations to get the Cerner EHR system will be in Columbus, Ohio, FedScoop reported.

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