Federal News Network: VA marking milestone with initial EHR rollout, but long-term road ahead still unclear

“After years of preparations and a few false starts, the Department of Veterans Affairs is expecting to achieve a major milestone in its decade-long, multi-billion-dollar effort to adopt a modern electronic health record.”

“The department is set to roll out an initial set of EHR capabilities to its first site, the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, Washington, on Saturday.”

“’This is the first full implementation of the EHR and a significant milestone for VA’s Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM) effort, as the department works to transform and improve how VA delivers care to veterans,’ spokeswoman Christina Noel said in an email to Federal News Network.”

“VA has twice delayed the initial go-live in Spokane. First, development delays and training concerns pushed the timeline back from March to July. But the global pandemic forced another pause this spring, as VA staff in Washington shifted focus to prepare for COVID-19 and Cerner and other contractors postponed travel.”

“The pandemic delays bought VA valuable time to improve the EHR, even if the department won’t launch with a full suite of capabilities all at once. It plans to deploy a second of two capability sets in Spokane next spring.”

“’We worked on interfaces. We worked on improving our training posture,’ Laura Kroupa, chief medical officer for VA’s Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization, said last week during Cerner’s 2020 virtual summit.”

“’We worked on converting some of this training to virtual. Looking forward, the mindset of everyone being together in one room for a go-live or for training, we have to relook at that and we don’t know when this is going to resolve,’ she said. ‘We looked at other technical things we could do in the background to move forward instead of waiting for COVID to pass.’”

“Ultimately, members of Congress watching VA’s initial go-live believe the department is about as ready as it can be — and that staff in Spokane are anxious to move past the preparations and start using the new system…” Read the full article here.

Source: VA marking milestone with initial EHR rollout, but long-term road ahead still unclear – By Nicole Ogrysko, October 23, 2020. Federal News Network.

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