Health IT

New VA office takes charge of electronic health record

VA headquarters in Wash., DC 

The Department of Veterans Affairs has established a new office to take charge of the 10-year project to replace the agency's homegrown electronic health record system, Vista.

Genevieve Morris, principal deputy national coordinator for health IT at the Department of Health and Human Services, has been detailed to VA to lead the new Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization.

"We are working hard to configure and design a system focused on quality, safety and patient outcomes, which will allow health IT innovations within one VA facility to be used across the entire VA health-care system," said Morris in a statement.

The new office is charged with the implementation of the new commercial health record software from Cerner, acquired in a $10 billion sole-source contract in May. Cerner is the software used in the system currently being installed across the Department of Defense. VA went with Cerner to promote interoperability and records transfer between DOD and VA systems.

The effort is expected to cost $16 billion over 10 years, and includes in addition to the Cerner contract, the costs of program management, infrastructure upgrades and the cost of keeping Vista running until the VA has adopted the new system.

Separately, the House Veterans Affairs Committee announced the addition of a new subcommittee to keep tabs on the massive IT project. The Subcommittee on Technology Modernization will be chaired by Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) and Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) will serve as ranking member.

"As the department embarks on the nation's largest EHR overhaul, it is critical that we ensure veterans and taxpayers are protected throughout the transition," VA Committee Chairman Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) said.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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