Oracle Can Get VA EHR Project' Back on Track,' Exec Assures Lawmakers

A top Oracle executive told legislators that moving the Cerner VA EHR to a cloud data center will improve system reliability.

Mike Sicilia, executive vice president of Oracle, promised to get the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) EHR modernization (EHRM) project "back on track" at a recent House Committee on Veterans' Affairs hearing.

Since VA granted EHR vendor Cerner a $16 billion contract in 2018, the IT project has entailed a series of delays, inaccurate cost estimates, and system issues.

However, the Oracle executive said that the company's recent acquisition of Cerner will fix the problem-riddled VA system, the Oracle executive said.

"The VA rollout is clearly behind schedule, below expectations, and on the same course as so many other programs that go over budget," Sicilia said. "But let me also say that with Oracle's acquisition of Cerner, we believe we can get back on track, exceed expectations, and keep our costs in line."

"We hope to have the Committee's support over the next nine months to demonstrate that we can deliver and then earn your trust and long-term support so this program can benefit all our nation's veterans," Sicilia continued.

With recent OIG reports revealing that the EHR has caused 149 cases of patient harm at a Spokane VA hospital, lawmakers emphasized that the project is at a crucial turning point.

"Cerner has to fundamentally improve, and we have to set a deadline," said Rep. Mike Bost, R-Illinois, ranking member of the House VA Committee. "If we don't see major progress by early next year when VA says they intend to roll Cerner out to larger sites, we will have to seriously consider pulling the plug."

Sicilia said Oracle will shift the Cerner EHR system to a cloud data center to enhance system functionality at a Senate Veterans Affairs (VA) Committee hearing.

"Candidly, we anticipate this change alone will be the single most important change we make in terms of system reliability," he said. "It will also provide a scalable, modern platform for us to deliver the kind of future releases users have come to expect like mobility and predictive analytics."

"Another advantage of moving the EHR system to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is that our cloud is a second-generation cloud with security built-in from the start," Sicilia added.

Oracle will move the EHR to a cloud data center at no extra cost to the Coast Guard, DoD, or the VA.

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