VistA replacement or modernization decision coming in July, says VA Secretary Shulkin

Shulkin said it had been a "strategic mistake" to not rethink VistA concurrently with the Department of Defense's EHR modernization, but promised a clear vision for the VA's health IT strategy by the summer.
By Jessica Davis
02:54 PM
VistA modernization VA Shulkin

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is currently assessing whether it will stay with its VistA electronic health record system and will make a decision by July, said VA Secretary David Shulkin, MD, on March 21.

Drawing on his experience in the private sector and several commercial EHR installations, Shulkin said during a Politico event in Washington that he is adamant not to rush the process and be backed into a set timeframe.

Currently, VA is in close contact with U.S. Department of Defense during its own EHR installation, and Shulkin said there is a lot to learn about DoD’s choice to use Cerner’s EHR and the change management processes currently underway; change management, he added, would consumer the bulk of VA’s budget for a commercial EHR.

[Also: VA will move from VistA to a commercial EHR, secretary says]

Shulkin added at the Politico even that it was a "mistake not to have made a decision with the DoD at the time. I'm not saying which side made the mistake, but look, the VA knows who its customers are. They come from one source: the DoD. And so not to have an integrated platform and records, I think, was a strategic mistake."

That said, the VA is also evaluating plans to modernize VistA before the final decision and Shulkin insisted he is not basing solely on finances.

The VA won't necessarily pick a particular vendor by the self-imposed July deadline but Shulkin said it will have a clear vision for moving forward at that time. 

Twitter: @JessieFDavis
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