VA was scheduled to initiate the next stages of the rollout plan for VA’s new electronic health records system in Michigan in June with training to begin April of 2023. However, safety and reliability concerns surrounding the software signals the latest delay for the modernized records system that has already seen numerous delays and speedbumps during earlier phases of implementation.
VA workers received word from the Regional Office Director in Michigan that the training set to begin this week would be postponed instead. This marks another delay in Michigan specifically, who also saw delays in the rollout of the new medical records system in Ann Arbor previously. The delay is the latest in a series of setbacks for the 10-year, $16 billion health records overhaul project, launched in 2017. Only five of the department’s 170-plus medical sites have begun using the software, and new deployments have been delayed for months amid concerns with the new system.
These additional delays have called into question the efficacy and viability of the program as a whole. Specifically, in the last few weeks, lawmakers in the House and Senate have introduced a series of legislative proposals to delay future deployments until VA officials can verify that certain patient safety, staff training and software usability standards have been reached.
Further, a number of Republican lawmakers have also publicly supported abandoning the project, questioning whether the system can ever be fully functional. VA and Oracle Cerner have insisted that it can work, and that the move is needed to bring Veterans’ medical files onto the same platform as the Defense Department’s records. With the continued delays and uncertainty surrounding this program there are sure to be additional developments in the coming months.
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