Latest Oracle Cerner EHR Outage Occurs at VA Roseburg Medical Center

The nearly four-hour Oracle Cerner EHR outage left doctors unable to access the health center’s patient registration platform.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Roseburg Medical Center was the latest facility to be affected by an unplanned Oracle Cerner EHR outage, according to reporting from FedScoop.

The EHR system implemented less than two months ago went down on July 21, 2022, leaving doctors and clinicians unable to register patients for almost four hours. Patients were able to receive treatment during the EHR downtime, VA emphasized.

The outage between 11:42 a.m. and 3:51 p.m. Pacific Time restricted access to VA Roseburg Medical Center’s patient registration platform.

“During this time, clinical staff could not check-in, discharge, or transfer patients,” a VA spokesperson said to FedScoop. “While staff may not have been able to register patients or transfer them to another unit within the EHR, patients were seen and treated. When the issue was resolved, patients were registered and transferred within the system to the appropriate patient unit.”

“The cause was tracked back to a March 2022 deployment when the Java Enterprise Archive did not properly clear older files,” the spokesperson continued. “A combination of system load and load balancing issues caused limited functionality in the system. The issue was triggered by too much load on the system.”

The incident was able to be resolved by redeploying an enterprise archive file. The Java archive file format packages modules as single archive files, guaranteeing the coherent deployment of different modules to application servers.

This outage comes after the VA announced it would be pushing back its EHR implementation for sites in Idaho amid patient safety and cost concerns.

“For nearly two years, [local employees] have done all they can to provide healthcare to veterans in the middle of a pandemic, and with an electronic health record system that is not delivering,” Jon Tester, D-Mont, Senate VA Committee chairman, said during a hearing on the issue. “We know this program faces very real problems and we need to work together to make needed improvements without delay.”

This latest postponement and other promises to fix the implementation are not enough to adequately address the problems with the EHR system, lawmakers stated.

Several weeks ago, the VA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a report revealing that a glitch in the Oracle Cerner EHR system caused 149 cases of patient harm.

The report was the latest in a series of negative assessments of the EHR unveiled by OIG over the last two years.

“While I fully appreciate substantial challenges exist – all of which are legitimate and understandable – the fact is that more is working than is not,” said Mike Sicilia, executive vice president of Oracle. "There is nothing here that can't be addressed in reasonably short order."

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