The Department of Veterans Affairs will delay the rollout of its Oracle Cerner-operated electronic health record platform at four medical centers in response to patient safety concerns and questions over system resiliency.
In a statement Tuesday, a VA spokesperson said the system will now be delayed at American Lake and Seattle VA medical centers in March 2023, which make up the VA’s Puget Sound Health Care System. This pushes back implementation by seven months from the previously scheduled August 2022 deployment.
VA will also delay deployment of the platform across the VA’s Portland Health Care System, which consists of VA medical centers in Portland and Portland-Vancouver. The rollout of the EHR platform in both cases has been shifted from November 2022 to April 2023.
The decision to defer implementation a the four sites follows the publication of details about a draft watchdog report that found at least 148 veterans were harmed during the department’s rollout of the system at a health center in Spokane, Washington. Details of the delayed implementation were first reported by Military Times.
In addition, the department has taken the decision to push back the rollout of the system at Idaho’s Boise VA Medical Center until July 23.
The EHR rollout in Boise was previously scheduled for June 25, and according to a Hill source, lawmakers were last Friday informed of the decision to delay this deployment date.
In an emailed statement, a VA spokesperson said the decision to delay further implementation of the platform at these locations was sparked by continued outages and concerns over system resiliency.
“The date was changed to allow Oracle Cerner to put important system enhancements in place and make the necessary improvements to ensure system stability (securing the 99.9% uptime Service Level Agreement currently contracted) as well as fix outstanding issues to address research workflow challenges,” said the emailed statement.
VA has requested also that Oracle Cerner develop an execution plan to put regular system testing and confirmation of resiliency in place.
The department added: “The revised deployment schedule will enable Oracle Cerner to address these potential gaps in system reliability, particularly in the more complex sites that are upcoming, such as Puget Sound and Portland. VA is highly confident that this deployment schedule can be achieved and is doing everything possible to ensure safe and successful deployments.”