Healthcare IT News: VA now ‘reimagining’ approach to Cerner EHR modernization

“During a hearing in front of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs this past week, VA Secretary Denis McDonough said that a review of the agency’s electronic health record modernization effort revealed multiple outstanding issues that must be resolved…”


“McDonough outlined the findings of a 12-week review of the EHRM program initiated after the first implementation of Cerner’s Millennium platform at the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, Washington, this past October.”

“He relayed several anecdotes about issues at Mann-Grandstaff, including incidents of duplicate prescription orders and difficulty with support from Cerner.”

“When one clinician called the customer help desk, “the person on the other end of the line told her he had just started a week prior. In other words, she had more experience using the platform than the person who was supposed to help her navigate it,” he said.”

“‘The strategic review illuminated a broad range of issues and affirmed many stakeholder concerns,’ said McDonough in written testimony submitted to the committee. The initial issues identified included:

  • Patient safety. Although staff took immediate action on clear issues, McDonough said stakeholders lacked clarity on the broader definition, nature and number of patient safety issues related to the new EHR implementation.
  • Productivity, with a significant decrease post-implementation compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Governance and management. McDonough during his testimony pointed to the siloed nature of the project. “Moving forward, VA is effectuating a unified, enterprise-wide governance that incorporates the perspectives of key clinical, technical, acquisition, and finance leaders, among others,” he said in written testimony.
  • Cost, schedule and performance. Not only were cost estimates off by billions of dollars, as outlined in OIG reports, but key performance indicators for the project were not effectively created, maintained or managed.
  • Patient portal experience, which McDonough described as “fragmented” for veterans.
  • Testing: “Clinical and interdisciplinary workflows were not tested prior to ‘go-live’ in a manner that effectively reflected a real-world environment,” said McDonough in written testimony.
  • Data, with gaps remaining in the ability to manage data between the VA’s legacy VistA EHR and Millennium, along with the Department of Defense, to ensure seamless information-sharing.
  • Change management and training. Employees need to both understand and have effective support in completing the key functions of their roles within the new system…” Read the full article here.

Source: VA now ‘reimagining’ approach to Cerner EHR modernization – By Kat Jercich, July 19, 2021. Healthcare IT News.



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