The Department of Veterans Affairs launched its new electronic health record April 30 at the VA Central Ohio Healthcare System in Columbus, Ohio, marking the third rollout in VA’s modernization effort to replace the more than 30-year-old software that tracks and stores patient information.
The launch at the VA Central Ohio Healthcare System includes its VA clinics in Grove City, Marion, Newark and Zanesville, Ohio. The next two EHR system deployments are scheduled for June 11 at the Roseburg VA Health Care System in Roseburg, Oregon, and VA Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center and Clinics in White City, Oregon.
The latest EHR implementation follows earlier deployments at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, Washington, and its community-based outpatient clinics, as well as the West Consolidated Patient Account Center in Las Vegas, in October 2020, and at Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial VAMC and its affiliated clinics in the Walla Walla, Washington, area on March 26, 2022.
“This electronic health record rollout is an important step in our progress toward a single instance of a medical record connecting VA, the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Coast Guard that will provide all our patients with seamless care from active duty to Veteran status,” said program Executive Director of VA’s Electronic Health Record Modernization Integration Office Terry Adirim, M.D. “With each VA site that adopts this system, we gain momentum. The lessons we carry forward from site to site are refining our rollouts and improving end-user experiences.”
VA has made great strides with its new EHR program since the first system launch in the Pacific Northwest. In response to feedback and lessons learned, the department made several improvements, including adding more computer-based instruction to provide users with more flexibility and autonomy to meet their training needs.
Additionally, “super-users,” facility staff with advanced understanding of the system to support their peers, were identified and added to activities, such as system demonstrations, workshops and testing. Increased over-the-shoulder support is also now provided during “go-live,” the period when the medical facility transitions from VA’s legacy EHR system to the new one.
During a visit to Washington state last week, VA Deputy Secretary Donald Remy heard firsthand accounts of how the new EHR has enhanced the efforts of VHA employees. Remy spoke to a laboratory manager at Mann-Grandstaff, who told him the new system has improved efficiency and streamlined procedures. They are processing more lab samples than with the legacy system resulting in increased reliable outcomes.
These improvements were made to address some of the challenges with the program and VA remains steadfast to getting this right for Veterans and serving as a model for transformative health care innovation. Visit VA’s Electronic Health Record Modernization program for information.