Monday, March 07, 2016

Politico Morning E Health: Vanishing VistA

My thoughts on this one coming...
VANISHING VISTA?: Rep. Phil Roe, who has seen plenty of twists in the VA-DoD EHR saga in his seven years on the Veterans Affairs committee, was not surprised to hear of another turn last week –“it’s the gift that keeps on giving,” he said. At an appropriations hearing, the VA’s CIO, Laverne Council, said the agency had pulled back $40 million from the budget of its VistA update program and was considering whether to ditch the fabled EHR. 
— Roe, a physician from Tennessee and head of the GOP Doctors Caucus, thinks that might be a good idea. If the VA decides to go commercial, Roe said, “I hope they use the same system” as the Pentagon (that would be Cerner). Roe noted that the Cerner contract to replace the Pentagon’s EHR stands at less than $4 billion, despite earlier estimates of up to $11 billion. It may be cheaper, in the long run, to replace VistA rather than updating it repeatedly, he told us. This idea troubles many IT specialists who have worked with VistA. The EHR has pieces that need replacement, they say, but its basic functionality is as good as Epic, Cerner or any other hospital EHR, and it would be a shame to toss a system that has evolved over the decades to fit the needs of VA clinicians.

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