For the Veteran community, visiting a Veterans Affairs Hospital, or any of the other nearly 1,300 healthcare facilities from the VA, is an opportunity for affordable care. Not only do you receive resources for the healthcare you deserve, but you will also be provided your care by those who understand the needs of the former military the most. But as with anything in life, mistakes can still occur. One of the latest developments affecting Veterans Affairs Medical Centers is a computer error that has likely delayed care for tens of thousands of heroes.
What Is a Veterans Affairs Hospital?
The Veterans Health Administration works to deliver Veterans the healthcare they need through facilities all over the world. A Veterans Affairs Hospital, formally known as a VHA Medical Center, provides hospital services and care to Vets.
Nine million Veterans rely on the 171 VHA Medical Centers to help provide professional care for their needs, and lately, some facilities have been failing this mission.
A new electronic health record system has shown many problems in its early stages and has been delayed from being rolled out across the board. Unfortunately, not before potentially harming the healthcare of some 41,500 Veterans.
$10 Billion to Oracle Cerner for a Failed Electronic Health Record System
No matter which aspect you look to in life, the reality is that we put a great deal of faith in technology. A Veterans Affairs Hospital using a computer system to help create a better healthcare system for Veterans is far from revolutionary because it’s expected.
But when things don’t go as planned, this leads to unfortunate consequences. In this case, Veterans didn’t receive timely follow-ups for their care due to a system failure.
Oracle Cerner was given a $10 billion contract and tasked with creating a new electronic health record system. The slated release in 2023 has been delayed because the states that were already using the system as a trial – Michigan, Ohio, and Washington – have found issues with it.
“Right now, the Oracle Cerner electronic health record system is not delivering for Veterans or VA health care providers, and we are holding Oracle Cerner and ourselves accountable to get this right,” said VA Deputy Secretary Donald Remy.
Since its launch in October 2020, various delays have plagued the system. Now, the VA is looking to pause a wider rollout and figure out how to fix the problem.
“Unfortunately, we discovered that safety concerns were voluminous enough and prevalent enough throughout the system that we had to disclose to 41,500 veterans that their care may have been impacted as a result of the system’s deployment as it is currently configured,” said the Under Secretary for Health at the VA, Shereef Elnahal.
The comment was made during an interview with The Spokesman-Review, which first reported that the VA postponed their rollout of the new computer system tested in Spokane until mid-2023 and warned that 41,500 Veterans may have been impacted.
A Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital is a place of recovery, and the unfortunate mishaps we’re seeing, sadly, mean a failure to protect American heroes. So far, failures from the system have been linked to at least 149 cases as the main cause of inadequate healthcare.
How Veterans Affairs Hospitals Are Addressing the Issue
The Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center and other healthcare facilities connected to the VA have already paused the system until these issues can be addressed and corrected.
A mid-2023 launch is now the goal; however, Elnahal has already made it known that new healthcare facilities wouldn’t be using the system until things were safe to do so.
“Sometimes, you’re not presented with options to immediately resolve the safety concerns that are in front of you. It is simply the case that the best option in front of us to resolve these patient safety concerns is to work with Oracle Cerner over the next several months to resolve the Cerner system issues at the sites where it exists. We know that this is possible, because other health systems have gone through this journey before, and I think we can do it,” said Elnahal.
Regardless of how it gets fixed, the hope for everyone is that appropriate courses of action are taken for those affected and for future patients. Care at a Veterans Affairs Hospital deserves to be the best it can be, as the patients gave their all for the good of freedom everywhere.