VA seeks dashboard to coordinate $21B health record project

Orlando VA Medical Center

Orlando VA Medical Center Photo by Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Office of Electronic Health Records Modernization wants a dashboard view of progress across the DOD and VA's interconnected software upgrades.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is looking for tech to help keep VA leadership up to date on its sprawling, $21 billion health record modernization project.

VA needs the dashboard in part because it can't use an integrated master schedule tool developed by the Defense Health Agency due to licensing restrictions and data interoperability issues, according to contracting documents released by VA earlier this month.

The department envisions a dashboard tool that reaches all stakeholders in the Electronic Health Record Modernization project and connects and interoperates with the "datacenter-to-desktop dashboard developed for DHA," to facilitate communications and conveys information about scheduling, tasks and deadlines and supports executive level decision making.  

According to the contracting documents, VA senior leaders need the dashboard data to develop "risk management contingency plans and escalation strategies," and to improve collaboration among the various internal and external stakeholders.  The RFI notes that the need for a common dashboard view of the project is particularly urgent for joint DOD/VA sites. 

VA and DOD are at different points in separately funded but integrated efforts to replace legacy electronic health records systems with commercial software from Cerner, which is the midst of an acquisition deal with Oracle. The two efforts are expected to cost at least $26 billion through the end of this decade – and probably more given lingering issues with cost estimates for the project on the VA side. 

So far, DOD has completed about 30% of its modernization and the Coast Guard has converted all its onshore locations to the new system. VA installed the new system at the Mann-Grandstaff Medical Center in Spokane, Wash., but problems with training and usability persist. Additionally, VA recently announced delays to the second wave of the Cerner rollout – the VA Central Ohio Healthcare System – from early March to the end of April because of an uptick in COVID-19 cases.