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VA Rolls Out New Electronic Health Record System at Ohio Facility

EHR implementation

VA Rolls Out New Electronic Health Record System at Ohio Facility

The new electronic health record system of the Department of Veterans Affairs has gone live at the Central Ohio Health Care System in Columbus. Missouri-based information technology company Cerner is providing the EHR system, which is meant to replace software that is over three decades old.

VA Central Ohio Health Care is the third site at which the Cerner EHR has been rolled out, Federal News Network reported. VA implemented the system first in October 2020 at the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, Washington, and second, on March 28, 2022, at the Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial VA Medical Center in Walla Walla, Washington.

The rollout in Ohio proceeded even though the Cerner EHR had recently suffered from outages.

On April 25, the system went offline for about two hours at Jonathan M. Wainwright. The outage was attributed to “load imbalance”. The following day, the system went offline again at the same site. The outage lasted for over five hours.

On April 6, the Cerner EHR went offline for three hours, preventing Department of Defense, U.S. Coast Guard and Veterans Affairs users from updating records. A subsequent investigation pointed to a bug in Oracle servers as the culprit. Cerner’s systems are powered by Oracle’s databases.

VA Secretary Denis McDonough told lawmakers during a House VA Committee hearing on April 28 that the agency is proceeding with the implementation of the Cerner EHR because of the perceived clinical value and improved outcomes the new system brings to veterans.

McDonough assured the legislators, however, that his agency will hold Cerner accountable for the performance of their product.

As for Cerner itself, company officials told lawmakers during a prior hearing that a technical review of the EHR is being considered to ensure the product’s stability and reliability.

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