EHR Modernization at the VA

John H. Windom, Executive Director, for the Office of EHR Modernization at the Veterans Administration (VA), appeared before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs’, Subcommittee on Technology Modernization November 14, 2018. The hearing was held to review and discuss the VA’s EHR Modernization Program that will include the Cerner Millennium EHR solution.

He reports that VA’s approach involves deploying the EHR solution at what is referred to “Initial Operating Capabilities” (IOC) sites. These sites will enable the VA to identify efficient strategies, solidify workflows, and detect course correction opportunities prior to the deployment at the IOCs at additional sites. The VA started the go-live clock for the IOC sites as planned on October 1, 2018 with an estimated completion date set for March 2020.

The VA is also deploying a change management strategy to support the transformation effort. This strategy includes working with end-users including VA’s medical center leadership, managers and supervisors, plus clinicians to provide the necessary training.  The VA will also work with stakeholders to identify and resolve any outstanding employee resistance and/or work to determine if any additional reinforcement will be needed.

To continue the modernizing effort, the VA has established 18 EHR Councils to develop national standardized clinical and business workflows for VA’s new EHR solution. The Councils represent each of the functional areas of the EHR solution to include behavioral health, pharmacy, ambulatory, dentistry, and business operations. The design of the Councils will consist of 60 percent of clinicians in the field to provide care for veterans with the remaining 40 percent of the clinicians to be located at the VA Central Office.


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