Third time’s the charm? VA sets new date for initial electronic health record rollout – Federal News Network

Third time’s the charm? VA sets new date for initial electronic health record rollout – Federal News Network

After development delays, training concerns and a global pandemic forced the Department of Veterans Affairs to postpone the initial rollout of its highly anticipated electronic health record modernization effort, the agency is on track to achieve a key milestone in three weeks.

The department plans to deploy a first round of EHR capabilities on Oct. 24 at the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, Washington.

And though members of Congress are cautiously optimistic VA has made enough progress to succeed later this month, they’re concerned about the long-term scope, budget and timeline of the department’s 10-year, $16 billion modernization program.

VA was originally scheduled to deploy an initial set of capabilities in March at Mann-Grandstaff. But development delays and training concerns pushed the timeline back to July.

The pandemic delayed the initial rollout again this past spring. Leadership at Mann-Grandstaff directed Cerner to stop meetings, travel, training and other change management activities so VA staff could devote their complete attention to the health crisis.

Now, VA officials say the the first set of EHR capabilities are 99% complete. Testing and re-testing is ongoing. And most end-users at Mann-Grandstaff are beginning advanced training on the new system.

“Getting everyone trained is a challenge. We had the wildfires and had to cancel a couple days of training,” Laura Kroupa, chief medical officer for VA’s Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization, said Wednesday during a hearing on the EHR. “We have a couple weeks at the end of the training before
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