VA Postpones Oracle Cerner EHR Implementations to June 2023

VA has pushed EHR implementations off to June 2023 after finding more deficiencies with the Oracle Cerner system, including issues with patient scheduling and referrals.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it is delaying upcoming EHR implementations of its Oracle Cerner system until June 2023 to address system challenges.

This decision comes after Denis McDonough, VA secretary, announced in July that the department would delay EHR deployments until January 2023 to resolve system deficiencies.

During a subsequent investigation at current implementation sites, VA officials found several additional technical and system issues, including challenges with performance, patient scheduling, referrals, medication management, and other types of medical orders.

Officials said they will continue to work with Oracle Cerner to resolve EHR performance bugs in the upcoming months, especially issues with patient safety implications.

“Right now, the Oracle Cerner electronic health record system is not delivering for Veterans or VA health care providers – and we are holding Oracle Cerner and ourselves accountable to get this right,” Donald Remy, deputy secretary of Veterans Affairs, noted in a press release.

“We are delaying all future deployments of the new EHR while we fully assess performance and address every concern,” he added. “Veterans and clinicians deserve a seamless, modernized health record system, and we will not rest until they get it.”

While executing this “assess and address” plan, the department will continue to focus on the five facilities where the new system has gone live “to ensure every patient is getting the world-class health care they deserve,” officials said.

In addition to the system review, VA is sending letters to every Veteran who may have been impacted by system challenges, asking them to contact VA through the call center or online if they have experienced care delays.

Once they reach out, Veterans can expect a member of their care team to contact them within five business days to resolve the issue.

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, said that after months of pressure from legislators, she is relieved VA has decided to delay implementations.

“I don’t want to see this rollout move forward one inch until the system is fully fixed—that means every single OIG recommendation is implemented, everything is working the way it’s supposed to, and every veteran is getting the care they need,” Murray said in a statement.

“I’ve been sounding the alarm on the shortcomings of this system for years, and I won’t stop until we’re living up to the promises we’ve made to veterans,” she added. “They deserve nothing less than the best.”

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