VA Oracle Cerner EHR Implementation Slated to Resume in June Despite System Issues

System outages, cost overruns, and patient safety concerns have slowed the VA Oracle Cerner EHR implementation.

The Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) EHR implementation remains scheduled to pick up in June despite deployment challenges in 2022, according to reporting from Nextgov.

A VA spokesperson told the news outlet that "VA is currently in the process of developing an updated deployment schedule" that "will be shared once approved."

VA first implemented the Oracle Cerner EHR system in 2020 at the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, Washington. However, system outages, cost overruns, and patient safety concerns have slowed the system's rollout across the VA's network of medical centers.

A report released in July by the VA Inspector General's office revealed that the EHR implementation at Mann-Grandstaff improperly routed over 11,000 clinical orders for veterans to an "unknown queue" without clinicians' knowledge.

VA officials said in July that they were delaying all remaining EHR system go-lives until early 2023 to address technical and patient safety issues associated with the health IT. Then in October, the VA announced that they were extending the delay in the software's deployment until June 2023.

Oracle, which acquired Cerner in June, has been working to address issues with the EHR platform. As of December 29, Oracle's public-facing dashboard tracking project progress showed that the vendor has closed out eight issues "originally identified by VA as priorities in February and May 2022 briefings to Congress and as cited in a letter from Congress to VA on June 27, 2022."

The dashboard lists four other issues to address that are in progress, four issues that are "scheduled," and an additional four marked as "in development."

VA is also continuing to move forward with the EHR system's deployment, including building on-the-ground facilities to streamline the software's rollout at future medical centers.

On December 6, VA published a pre-solicitation notice on regarding a "single, firm-fixed-price contract for the construction only [Electronic Health Record Modernization] training and admin space support at the John J. Pershing VA Medical Center" in Poplar Bluff, Missouri.

The VA spokesperson told Nextgov that the pre-solicitation notice was specific to planned infrastructure improvements at Pershing "in support of electronic health record modernization at the facility."

They emphasized that the timing of the infrastructure project "is not an indication of the Oracle-Cerner deployment schedule" and that the training space "must be ready months before the go-live date."

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