Cerner EHR system rollout paused again

Deployment of a new $16 billion Cerner electronic heath record system for the Department of Veterans Affairs has been put on pause following issues with its rollout. The department says it will wait until the completion of the system’s strategic review before resuming.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is pausing deployment activities for its new $16 billion Cerner EHR system at a second site until it has completed a strategic review of the project and shared the results with Congress.

The VA first launched the EHR system in October at its first site: Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, Wash.

VA employees who use the EHR at Mann-Grandstaff have expressed usability and productivity concerns with the new system, which prompted the department to launch a strategic review in March.  

The department’s rollout has hit a few snags over the past year; VA delayed the deployment in February 2020 to finish building the EHR and then further postponed the go-live in April 2020 to focus on its COVID-19 response. 

VA on April 14 reaffirmed its commitment to the Cerner EHR and said it would provide more updates to Congress on the program’s progress as the review continues. The department is reviewing the program’s requirements and also tracking how long specific tasks take in the EHR to evaluate user experience. 

VA and Cerner acknowledged the work that needs to be done to address the concerns: “As with any healthcare IT transformation, we knew there would [be] challenges,” Cerner Government Services General Manager Brian Sandager told the publication. “Sometimes what you design on paper is over-engineered and it doesn’t fit local workflows, and we need to modify those.”