Oracle Exec Calls on Congress for Continued VA EHRM Support

Ken Glueck, EVP of Oracle, noted that while the VA EHRM program has been far but perfect, the company has made substantial progress in improving system performance.

After legislators proposed a bill to scrap the VA Electronic Health Record Modernization EHRM project last week, a top Oracle executive called on Congress to continue to support the effort in a blog post.

Ken Glueck, executive vice president of Oracle, argued that reverting to the legacy VA EHR, Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), would take healthcare for veterans backward.

“VistA cannot be made better; it will just be made older, less secure, and more expensive to operate,” Glueck wrote. “Worse, it will deny our veterans the many benefits modern healthcare technology has to offer.”

Glueck acknowledged that the rollout of the Cerner EHR across the VA has not been without problems. For instance, he said that rolling out the first deployment in October 2020 at the height of the pandemic was a mistake.

“It is understandable that overworked healthcare providers focused intently on patient care, being directed to invest time, effort and training to learn a new EHR system was justifiably frustrating while facing an onslaught of COVID patients,” Glueck wrote.

However, he said the company has taken strides to improve training and system performance.

“Issues related to workflows and complexity are being worked through in partnership with the VA. And performance gains are being achieved with each passing day with substantial resources,” Glueck wrote. “Already, we have made significant improvements to the system’s capacity and performance, reducing the most severe outage incidents by 67 percent since last June.”

“Oracle is hard at work to stabilize and improve performance; make fixes to functionality and design issues; improve training and build a better user experience,” he said. “Oracle is working on all these items and steadily delivering to VA updates and fixes.”

He explained that one of the biggest reasons the VA version of Millennium is so “unwieldy” is because there were 130 different instances of VistA.

“A modernization project of this scale and scope necessarily involves time to untangle the decades of customized processes established in support of VistA, which inevitably involves challenges,” he said.

“The problem with modernization is it doesn’t come with a magic wand, and there’s no easy button,” Glueck wrote. “Modernization requires change and some short-term pain for the long-term benefits of a modern technology infrastructure, a modern user interface, and a modern set of workflows.”

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