- The Department of Veterans Affairs has established the Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization to help maintain the agency's new Cerner EHR system over the next 10 years.
- OEHRM will be led by Genevieve Morris, principal deputy national coordinator at HHS. Morris, who is on loan to the VA, will work closely with the Veterans Health Administration and the VA CIO.
- The new EHR is currently being piloted at the Department of Defense, where it's called MHS Genesis. While the VA iteration will be implemented in October at three Pacific Northwest hospitals, it won't go live until March 2020.
The creation of a new office to oversee VA's EHR modernization should be refreshing news for VA providers, who have been forced to use the agency's 40-year-old VistA medical records system while watching Cerner's procurement process with VA drag on for nearly a year.
The contract was first announced in June 2017 and then delayed over issues with interoperability before being finalized at long last in May. Reports surfaced in late April alleging President Donald Trump's inner circle influenced the hold up, which ultimately had a negative impact on the company's revenue in the first quarter.
The no-bid contract was originally valued at $10 billion, but accounting for staffing, VA officials said last month the job will likely cost closer to $16 billion by the time it concludes.
The new system will allow the VA to share clinical data with DoD, community providers and the Coast Guard, which decided to roll into the DoD contract rather than issue its own. The new office's purpose is to "get VA to the end-state that will allow medical records to transition seamlessly for service members departing active duty into Veteran status," VA Acting Secretary Peter O’Rourke said in a statement.
O'Rourke is standing in for Robert Wilkie, President Trump's pick to lead VA, while the Senate works to confirm him.
Wilkie recently said the agency is putting lessons learned from DoD's MH Genesis pilot into practice. That project has been having rollout issues of its own. Wilkie, however, told the Senate he would not commit to going live with a new EHR system at VA until it had been properly tested.