Federal News Network: Few VA employees easily navigating new EHR after training, months of use, auditors say

“The inspector general at the Department of Veterans Affairs delivered a double-edged blow to VA’s massive electronic health record modernization effort this week, detailing both employee training failures with the new system and unreliable IT cost estimates for the overall project.”

“A small percentage of VA employees at the first go-live site in Spokane, Washington said they could easily use the Cerner Millennium EHR after training and using the product for two-to-three months, the IG said Thursday in a new report…”

“The IG’s latest report, again, calls into question the total lifecycle costs for the EHR modernization effort. Auditors in May said VA had underestimated the costs of physical infrastructure upgrades also needed to support the new EHR. Those are potentially worth $3.1-to-3.7 billion, costs that have never been reported to Congress.”

“These figures are estimates, the IG said, because VA lacks a reliable method for reporting infrastructure costs. VA’s Office of Information and Technology and the Veterans Health Administration are responsible for paying for IT infrastructure upgrades, yet the department’s Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization is supposed to report those costs to Congress.”

VHA’s role is ‘undefined’

“How these three entities — VA OI&T, VHA and OEHRM — interact with each other is partly to blame for the failures with employee training at the department’s first go-live site in Spokane, auditors concluded.”

“The IG said VHA doesn’t have a defined role in the decision-making or oversight associated with the EHR project, even though its clinicians and employees are the principle users of the health record…” Read the full article here.

Source: Few VA employees easily navigating new EHR after training, months of use, auditors say – By Nicole Ogrysko, July 8, 2021. Federal News Network.

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