VA to delay further installations of modernized EHR by at least six months

por John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | July 28, 2021
Health IT

VA Secretary Denis McDonough promised senators at a hearing the week before that the department was confident it could address the system’s flaws. It also will review the state of physical and IT infrastructure leadership, staffing, and other factors at each of its facilities to ensure they are prepared for the EHR sooner rather than later. In addition, it will be “starting from scratch” on a new, independent life cycle cost estimate for the EHR modernization project, a plan which committee members welcomed. The estimate may take another year to finish, according to Clancy, who acknowledged during the meeting that the system was not ready to go live last October.

“From my conversations with the leadership of OEHRM (Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization), they believed that it was important not to keep delaying the initial deployment, that we would learn a great deal, and they didn’t expect it to go well,” she said, adding “I would have to surmise that they believed that we should get on with it and learn more, because this is how we actually deploy systems like this on the ground.”

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Patients safety teams are currently working away at the system to resolve its challenges. The VA did not explain its new governance structure, which will manage the EHR project going forward, but did reveal that it has appointed Donald Remy as permanent VA Deputy Secretary.

Remy is currently being briefed on the new management structure and will have a “far more active role than some of my predecessors,” according to Clancy.

The VA told HCB News that it is "unable to comment at this time" on what its next steps are, as it is still trying to determine the best course of action.

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