Wash­ing­ton Re­port

Health Data Management - - INSIDE - —Greg Sla­bod­kin

VA picks Cerner EHR; task force de­tails cy­ber­se­cu­rity im­per­a­tives

The Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs is be­gin­ning a mul­ti­year tran­si­tion to a com­mer­cial off-the-shelf elec­tronic health records sys­tem from Cerner, ini­ti­at­ing a switch from re­liance on its decades-old EHR sys­tem. While the VA will not be adopt­ing the iden­ti­cal EHR that the Depart­ment of De­fense plans to in­stall over the next five years, it will be on a sim­i­lar Cerner plat­form. The U.S. mil­i­tary has started to de­ploy Cerner’s Mil­len­nium sys­tem, the same plat­form that has been named as the re­place­ment for the VA’s legacy Vet­er­ans Health In­for­ma­tion Sys­tems and Tech­nol­ogy Ar­chi­tec­ture (VistA).

“At VA, we know where al­most all of our veteran pa­tients are go­ing to come from—from the DoD, and for this rea­son, Congress has been urg­ing the VA and DoD for at least 17 years, from all the way back in 2000—to work more closely on EHR is­sues,” said VA Sec­re­tary David Shulkin, MD.

House ap­pro­pri­a­tors have pro­vided $65 mil­lion in Fis­cal Year 2018 fund­ing for the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs’ plan to switch to Cerner. How­ever, the funds come with strings at­tached. The FY 2018 Mil­i­tary Con­struc­tion, Vet­er­ans Af­fairs and Re­lated Agen­cies Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Bill states that no more than 25 per­cent of the funds can be ob­li­gated or spent un­til Shulkin pro­vides de­tails about the records sys­tem tran­si­tion to both House and Se­nate ap­pro­pri­a­tors:

The an­nounce­ment by the VA that it plans to fol­low the lead of the DoD and ac­quire a com­mer­cial off-the-shelf EHR sys­tem from Cerner was met with ap­proval from health­care IT groups and stake­hold­ers.

“The Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs’ se­lec­tion of Cerner to de­velop its elec­tronic health records sys­tem is won­der­ful news for U.S. vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies,” said David Kibbe, MD, pres­i­dent and CEO of Direc­tTrust.

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