WASHINGTON — Today, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced it is delaying upcoming deployments of the Oracle Cerner electronic health record (EHR) until June 2023 to address challenges with the system and make sure it is functioning optimally for Veterans and for VA health care personnel.

This decision comes after Secretary Denis McDonough announced in July that VA would delay EHR deployments until January 2023 to ensure that the system’s issues had been resolved. During VA’s subsequent investigation at our current sites, several additional technical and system issues were identified – including challenges with performance, such as latency and slowness, problems with patient scheduling, referrals, medication management, and other types of medical orders.

Over the coming months, VA will continue to work closely with Oracle Cerner to resolve issues with the system’s performance, maximize usability for VA health care providers, and ensure our nation’s Veterans are served by an effective records system to support their healthcare. During this “assess & address” period, we will correct outstanding issues—especially those that may have patient safety implications—before restarting deployments at other VA medical centers.

“Right now, the Oracle Cerner electronic health record system is not delivering for Veterans or VA health care providers – and we are holding Oracle Cerner and ourselves accountable to get this right,” said Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Donald Remy, who has oversight over VA’s EHR program. “We are delaying all future deployments of the new EHR while we fully assess performance and address every concern. Veterans and clinicians deserve a seamless, modernized health record system, and we will not rest until they get it.”

While executing this “assess and address” plan, VA will continue to focus on the five facilities where the new system has already been deployed to ensure every patient is getting the world-class health care they deserve. In addition to the system review, VA is sending letters to every Veteran who may have been impacted by these system challenges in some manner, asking that if they have experienced a delay in medications, appointments, referrals, or test results, to contact VA through the call center or online. Once they reach out, these Veterans can expect a member of their care team to follow up with them within five business days to resolve the issue.

The modernized EHR will replace VA’s current Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA) to document and support all aspects of Veteran health care. VA remains committed to building an EHR solution that will link with the Department of Defense’s health record system to create a lifetime of seamless care for service members and Veterans.

For more information about VA’s overall EHR modernization effort, visit https://www.ehrm.va.gov/.

Originally published by Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs

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