Jun 5 2017

Today, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), Chairman of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel and member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, issued the following statement after U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin announced that the VA will adopt the same Electronic Health Record (EHR) system as the Department of Defense for veterans’ medical records:
“I applaud the VA for taking action to directly address the longstanding electronic records issue that has plagued the VA to the detriment of our veterans. This decision will present an opportunity to achieve a stronger partnership between DOD & VA health information systems, moving us one step closer to streamlining the transition period for veterans entering the VA’s medical system and providing VA providers with a full clinical picture of the veteran’s medical history.”
The VA currently uses an EHR system developed by the VA known as the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture, or VistA. The VistA system is in need of major modernization to keep pace with the improvements in health information technology and cybersecurity, and software development is not a core competency of VA, according to VA Secretary Shulkin. Today’s announcement moves the VA towards a commercial off-the-shelf product and the same EHR system as DoD, now known as MHS GENESIS, which at its core consists of Cerner Millennium. According to Secretary Shulkin, the VA’s adoption of the same EHR system as DoD will ultimately result in all patient data residing in one common system and enable seamless care between the Departments without the manual and electronic exchange and reconciliation of data between two separate systems. Furthermore, VA Secretary Shulkin announced the VA must work to improve integration with academic affiliates and community partners, many of whom are on different IT platforms.