VA sets July 2020 goal for EHR rollout at Mann-Grandstaff

The Cerner system was scheduled to go live March 28, but was delayed due to the need for additional development of interfaces between the existing EHR, Cerner’s platform and VA's general IT infrastructure.
By Nathan Eddy
03:52 PM

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has announced a new proposed rollout date for the electronic health record system at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, Washington, which will represent the future of the medical record capabilities of the agency.

The commercial Cerner system was scheduled to go live on March 28 at Mann-Grandstaff, but was delayed due to the need for additional development of interfaces between the existing EHR, Cerner’s platform and the general IT infrastructure of the VA.

The new target rollout date was reported to Congress on Thursday by VA Secretary Robert Wilkie and Dr. Richard Stone, acting head of the Veterans Health Administration, according to reports in the Federal News Network and FCW.

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"There [are] about 1,000 work processes that need to be written. Those are substantially completed. But once you finish those work processes, you've got to set that electronic medical record into a number of interfaces that plug into the rest of the system," Stone explained to the House Veterans Affairs Committee, as reported by FCW. "There are 73 interfaces, 19 are completed as of today, and that is why we are delayed."

Wilkie stated that during the proceedings certain programs, including prescription applications, were not yet ready to launch, and also that training was EHR training had been pushed back because he felt it "didn’t make sense" to train employees on an incomplete system.

"We have a great relationship with our private sector partner," the Federal News Network reported Wilkie telling the House Veterans Affairs Committee. "We have a great relationship with the Department of Defense. But I was not satisfied. I promised you ...that if I was not satisfied, we would not launch."

The project is part of a $16 billion EHR modernization push with Cerner and VA, whose partnership was first announced in 2018. The agency has since established the Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization, tasked to oversee the implementation of the same EHR system being deployed by the Department of Defense.

New engagement tools for veterans

Meanwhile, in separate news, the VA Maryland health care system announced this week that it is offering veterans expanded technological options for appointments, allowing them to virtually meet with their health care providers anywhere using their phones, computers or tablets with the VA Video Connect application.

The app works on nearly any mobile or web-based device that has an internet connection and a web camera, including smartphones and laptops, among others, and is part of the VA’s program to offer telehealth solutions to vets in rural areas or places where they don’t have immediate access to care.

"This is about meeting the needs of veterans where they are," said Dr. Adam M. Robinson, Jr., director of the VA Maryland Health Care System, in a statement. "VA Video Connect allows clinicians to hold virtual health care appointments with veterans from anywhere using secure and private connections. It makes health care more accessible and reduces travel times for our patients."

Nathan Eddy is a healthcare and technology freelancer based in Berlin.
Email the writer: nathaneddy@gmail.com
Twitter: @dropdeaded209

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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