Health IT

VA settles on Cerner to replace VistA EHR

VA Secretary David Shulkin said he would make a decision on what to do about the department’s VistA EHR system by July 1. Nearly a month ahead of that deadline, Shulkin has already determined the VA will replace VistA with a Cerner system.

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It looks like the VA has finally made a decision on what to do with its legacy EHR system, VistA.

Yesterday, well ahead of his aforementioned July 1 deadline, VA Secretary David Shulkin said the department will replace VistA with a Cerner system.

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“… I have decided that VA will adopt the same EHR system as DoD, now known as MHS GENESIS, which at its core consists of Cerner Millennium,” he said in a statement.

One of the major reasons behind the decision, Shulkin said, was that Congress has been encouraging the VA and the Department of Defense to work closely on EHR issues and interoperability. “At VA, we know where almost all of our Veteran patients is going to come from — from the DoD,” Shulkin noted.

And the DoD, of course, uses a Cerner platform.

Shulkin stressed that the VA won’t be using a Cerner platform that’s identical to the DoD’s, but rather one that is similar in nature.

Moving forward, he said the VA will seek to obtain interoperability with not only the DoD, but also its academic affiliates and community partners, who are on alternative platforms.

In a statement sent to MedCity, Cerner commented on the VA’s choice:

We are honored and humbled to be selected to lead the VA’s important project. We believe this project, in concert with ongoing progress towards implementing the Department of Defense’s MHS Genesis system, will lead to ongoing innovation, improved interoperability and the creation of a single longitudinal health record that can facilitate the efficient exchange of data among military care facilities and the thousands of civilian health care providers where current and former service members receive health care.

Those following the EHR situation at the VA will recall that earlier this year, Black Book claimed Cerner would be the best replacement for VistA. Allscripts came in as the second-best replacement, and Epic nabbed the third place spot.

Although it didn’t win the VA EHR contract, Epic still had something to say about it. According to an Epic spokesperson:

As the largest electronic health record vendor in the United States, covering two-thirds of the nation’s patients, we are proud to serve our veterans both through the VA scheduling project and through our customers that care for millions of veterans across America. These customers are the top health systems in America and we stand with them, committed and eager to ensure veterans get the very best medical care regardless of where they receive it.

President Trump also weighed in on the matter. “Secretary Shulkin announced this morning that the VA will modernize its medical records to use the same system as the Department of Defense,” he said in an announcement yesterday. “No more complications. The records will now be able to follow the veteran when they leave service, meaning faster, better and far better quality care.”

And naturally, Trump didn’t fail to tweet about it:

Photo: YinYang, Getty Images