Almost two years ago, the Department of Defense awarded Cerner its contract to modernize their EHR.
Meanwhile, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) continued to struggle with their in-house system VistA all the while facing issues of cost, lack of interoperability, and continuous efforts to keep the system up to date.
It was apparent that a rapid change needed to occur seeing as how in the time it took the DoD and Cerner to complete their implementation, the VA continued to struggle.
The decision was announced by VA Secretary, David Shulkin last Monday in Washington. In the most logical account for their decision, Shulkin explained, “At VA, we know where almost all of our veteran patients are going to come from – from the DoD, and for this reason, Congress has been urging the VA and DoD for at least 17 years, from all the way back in 2000 – to work more closely on EHR issues.”
The implementation is expected to be completed by 2022 and according to Health Data Management, this change will serve more than 9 million DoD beneficiaries globally.
The system implemented will not be identical to that of the DoD, as necessities vary. However, it will all be on the same Cerner platform.
President Trump stated, “I’m pleased to say we are finally taking steps to finally solve this situation once and for all. The records will now be able to follow the veteran as they leave service. Meaning, faster, better and far better quality care.”
But what about the contract with Epic regarding an online medical appointment scheduling contract back in 2015? There’s a pilot project in effect and results are expected to roll in over the course of nearly a year and half. This contract in effect has awarded Epic over $620 million for a five year period. Sources have confirmed that this project and the Cerner pick are unrelated and do not affect one another. In fact, as far as the VA-wide EHR replacement goes, Epic was not a contender.