VA of­fi­cials to dis­cuss best prac­tices, new tech­nolo­gies

Modern Healthcare - - THE WEEK AHEAD - —Rachel Z. Arndt

The Vet­er­ans Health Ad­min­is­tra­tion, which was re­cently called out by the Govern­ment Ac­count­abil­ity Of­fice for in­suf­fi­cient over­sight and ac­count­abil­ity, in­for­ma­tion technology woes and other ills, has an op­por­tu­nity to im­prove vet­er­ans’ care through the use of a num­ber of dig­i­tal tools.

Technology will be wo­ven through­out the con­ver­sa­tions at this year’s 2017 VA Health­care con­fer­ence, set for May 15-18 in Ar­ling­ton, Va. For­mer and cur­rent VHA ad­min­is­tra­tors, health­care lead­ers re­lated to the VA and other at­ten­dees will dis­cuss social me­dia, trau­matic brain in­jury treat­ment and elec­tronic health records, among other top­ics.

The Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Depart­ment cur­rently uses its own EHR sys­tem, VistA, which the agency has strug­gled to mod­ern­ize. Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Sec­re­tary Dr. David Shulkin in March said a de­ci­sion to re­place VistA, which is used in 1,700 VHA sites, could come by July. Re­gard­less, change of some sort to the EHR is all but guar­an­teed, with a fi­nal de­ci­sion to come about whether that change will ar­rive in the VA’s own, home-grown sys­tem or in a com­mer­cial EHR made by a ven­dor like Epic Sys­tems Corp. or Cerner Corp.

Speak­ers at this year’s VA Health­care con­fer­ence in­clude Joseph Ronzio, deputy chief health technology of­fi­cer at the VA, and Scott Black­burn, in­terim deputy VA sec­re­tary. Black­burn will de­liver a key­note, “The Fu­ture of Health­care De­liv­ery to Our Na­tion’s Vet­er­ans,” on the first day of the con­fer­ence, which is run by the In­sti­tute for De­fense and Govern­ment Ad­vance­ment.


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