VA announces joint EHR deployment with DoD during EHRM program reset

VA is rolling out the federal EHR system at a joint-DoD healthcare facility despite pausing additional go-lives as part of its EHR modernization (EHRM) reset.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Department of Defense (DoD), and Federal Electronic Health Record Modernization (FEHRM) office recently launched the federal EHR at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center (Lovell FHCC) in North Chicago, Illinois.

Lovell FHCC provides healthcare to about 75,000 patients annually, including Veterans, service members and their families, and Navy recruits.

The announcement marks the first deployment of the Oracle Health EHR at a joint VA and DoD facility.

“The federal EHR will enhance care for all beneficiaries who walk through our doors, whether they are Veterans, Navy recruits, students, active-duty service members, their dependents, or retirees,” Robert Buckley, MD, director of Lovell FHCC, said in a press release. “It enables a continuum of care that will enhance our operations as we work to optimize health outcomes for those we serve.”

While DoD has completed implementation of the federal EHR at all its garrison hospitals and clinics worldwide, VA has paused additional deployments of the platform at additional hospitals, except for Lovell FHCC, to address system issues.

Neil Evans, MD, acting program executive director of the Electronic Health Record Modernization Integration Office, noted that the deployment at Lovell FHCC will enhance care delivery.

“This joint deployment of the federal EHR at Lovell FHCC will provide a more coordinated experience for patients and the clinicians who care for them,” Evans said. “Additionally, while VA continues with the broader reset of our electronic health record modernization program, we are learning lessons from this deployment to inform our future decisions.”

Bill Tinston, FEHRM Director, said that the deployment of the federal EHR at Lovell FHCC will drive interoperability.

“This will not only benefit the patients and staff in North Chicago, but all joint sites that need joint solutions to effectively deliver care,” he said.

VA continues to examine system issues that clinicians and other end-users are experiencing at its sites using the federal EHR. Officials said the agency is developing “success criteria” to determine when to restart deployments.

As the first deployment at a more complex VA healthcare facility, the experience at Lovell FHCC is set to help inform these decisions, they noted.

VA will not schedule additional deployments until it is confident that the EHR is highly functioning at current sites and “ready to deliver for veterans and VA clinicians at future sites.”

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