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Placing Veterans and Service members at the center of their care

Estimated read time: 4 minutes

by Travis Dalton

Published on 10/7/2020

At Cerner Government Services (CGS) we are working with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Defense (DoD), and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) to transform health care for Veterans, Service members and their beneficiaries. Over the next 10 years, VA will move from using its current electronic health record (EHR) system to a new system that will integrate with DoD’s patient records and – for the first time – unify all VA facilities on one system. The program that will manage VA’s steady transition to the new EHR is called Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM).

Implementing the largest health IT transformation in U.S. history is a complex undertaking. It requires innovation and collaboration with caregivers, patients, Veterans and military service organizations. By joining forces with our federal clients, Cerner is helping shape the health care of tomorrow for Veterans and Service members today. We accomplish this by:

  • placing the Veteran/Service member at the center of their care
  • modernizing tools and systems used by our clients so they can innovate and provide better care
  • building interoperable networks to connect all entities that touch the patient’s health care continuum

Navigating COVID-19 has presented challenges to everyone across the country, but under the leadership of VA and DoD, we stayed the course, quickly shifting into new modes of operation to bring immediate value to our clients and meet their changing needs during the pandemic.

  • In April 2020, we partnered with DoD and VA to launch the joint health information exchange (HIE), a landmark interoperability milestone to advance seamless care across the two agencies. All VA and DoD providers can now exchange patient health data with more than 225 community partners. That number will continue to grow with the implementation of CommonWell later this year, adding a nationwide network of more than 15,000 hospitals and clinics to the 46,000 community partners already part of the HIE.
  • In August 2020, we deployed the Centralized Scheduling Solution (CSS), a new appointment management system at the VA Central Ohio Healthcare System, which includes Chalmers P. Wylie VA Ambulatory Care Center in Columbus. CSS makes medical visits more efficient for Veterans and health care providers by simplifying the user experience with modernized tools and technology.
  • Also, in August 2020, the S. Coast Guard launched MHS GENESIS at four pilot sites, becoming the first federal agency to join the DoD in deploying the same electronic health record solution.
  • In September 2020, as a member of the Leidos Partnership for Defense Health, we deployed the EHR at ten locations in Nevada and California. This was known as Wave NELLIS – the third wave of the EHR system deployment. With Wave NELLIS, we are now live at 18 DoD locations. For the first time ever, VA, DoD and Coast Guard data are in the same network of systems.

Building on that momentum, the full electronic health record solution will go live at the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center October 2020, in Spokane, Washington, and its VA community-based outpatient and rural clinics. Final preparations are underway, including training, system testing and communications to Veterans and caregivers in the Spokane service area.

During the upcoming Cerner Health Conference (CHC) on Oct. 13-14, some of our clients will share their perspective on innovation and technology in the federal space. Bill Tinston, director for the Federal Electronic Health Record Modernization program office, will discuss how leveraging the joint HIE can improve connectivity. John Windom, executive director for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization (OEHRM), and Laura Kroupa, M.D., chief medical officer for VA’s OEHRM, will lead a session about the next steps for VA’s EHRM program.

We are making progress toward the goal of creating a connected federal system that enables a lifetime of seamless care for our Veterans and Service members and improving health outcomes by providing the right data, in the right place, and at the right time.

Together, with our world-class clients, we are shaping health care today and for generations to come.

Cerner Government Services connects with our federal clients to understand their challenges and deliver solutions that accurately meet the needs of their unique missions. Learn more here.