Cerner gets contract to update VA’s electronic health records system

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Department of Veterans Affairs on Monday announced the implementation of a new electronic health records system (EHR), a decision to update a records system long derided as inefficient and outdated.

The VA has chosen Kansas City’s own Cerner Corporation to lead the project.

Cerner spokesman Dan Smith released a statement Monday morning.

Earlier today, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced its decision to modernize its existing health records platform by choosing Cerner’s commercial off-the-shelf Millennium EHR solution.

We are honored and humbled to be selected to lead the VA’s important project. We believe this project, in concert with ongoing progress towards implementing the Department of Defense’s MHS Genesis system, will lead to ongoing innovation, improved interoperability and the creation of a single longitudinal health record that can facilitate the efficient exchange of data among military care facilities and the thousands of civilian health care providers where current and former service members receive health care.

We look forward to sharing more information as we build the team of innovative and experienced partners that will join us to complete this vital work.

Cerner already runs the Department of Defense’s medical records system.

VA Sec. David J. Shulkin said “having a Veteran’s complete and accurate health record in a single common EHR system is critical to [patient] care, and to improving patient safety.”

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 long been in need of major modernization to stay up to date with improvements in IT and cybersecurity.

The VistA system is the nation’s largest enterprise-wide health information system that includes an electronic medical record. Recordkeeping has been somewhat of a black eye on the Department, something critics have repeatedly attacked as outdated, inefficient, and costly, and to which some veterans have decried as a major obstacle to receiving much-needed medical care.

“It’s time to move forward, and as Secretary I was not willing to put this decision off any longer. When DoD went through this acquisition process in 2014 it took far too long. The entire EHR acquisition process, starting from requirements generation until contract award, took approximately 26 months,” Shulkin said in a statement. “We simply can’t afford to wait that long when it comes to the health of our Veterans.”