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06 June 2017, 06:38 | Floyd Cook
VA to use same electronic health record system as military
"Removing VistA from the VA system of care is long overdue, and Paralyzed Veterans of America is pleased Secretary Shulkin has exercised his authority to declare it a priority", remarked Associate Executive Director of Medical Services Lana McKenzie, RN, MHA, CCM.
The Department of Veterans Affairs will adopt the same medical records system as the Department of Defense to ensure "seamless care", Secretary David Shulkin announced Monday.
In a written statement, Cerner said it was "honored and humbled" to be selected to replace the VA's VistA system.
The D&F notes that there is a public interest exception to the requirement for full and open competition, and determines that the VA may issue a solicitation directly to Cerner Corporation for the acquisition of the EHR system now being deployed by DoD, for deployment and transition across the VA enterprise in a manner that meets VA needs, and which will enable seamless healthcare to Veterans and qualified beneficiaries. "The entire EHR acquisition process, starting from requirements generation until contract award, took approximately 26 months".
That's going to "require integration with other vendors", he said, "to create a system for veterans, so they can get care within the community as well as at the Department of Defense".
Shulkin credited President Donald Trump's leadership with the difference that's allowed the VA to move forward with this decision months into the new administration.
"I said recently to Congress that I was committed to getting VA out of the software business, that I didn't see remaining in that business as benefitting veterans", he said. "And I congratulate Secretary Shulkin for making this very, very important decision". "This is one of the biggest wins for our veterans in decades".
For all the critical similarities in their patient populations and clinical imperatives, "VA has unique needs that are different from the Department of Defense's", said Shulkin.
Shulkin said if the departments were to stay on two different systems, they would continue to face "significant challenges".
The announcement did not include any timeline for implementation, nor did it include the value of the contract.
While VA is adopting the same Cerner software, it won't be identical with what DOD is implementing but it will be on a similar Cerner platform, Skulkin said.
Shulkin said the choice to move forward with the next-generation system was a commitment he made since the president selected him for his position as VA secretary, adding that the current VistA system has always been in need of major modernization to stay up to date with improvements in IT and cybersecurity.
Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., who had been a strong advocate of an off-the-shelf system, said in a statement that he was "encouraged by the announcement", adding that "VA's antiquated IT systems have stood between veterans and the care they deserve for far too long".
You can read the Secretary of Veterans Affairs' remarks here.
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