The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs are in lock step when it comes to creating a single common electronic health record system based on Cerner’s Millennium EHR platform, according to Stacy Cummings, program executive officer for Defense Healthcare Management Systems.
Speaking Wednesday during a roundtable discussion with members of the media, Cummings said DoD is working very closely with the VA as that agency looks to award a sole-source contract to Cerner by the end of the month.
“A single common EHR is the vision of both DoD and the VA,” she emphasized, so that when an active duty military service member transitions to veteran status, “the data doesn’t have to move” because it’s all one system.
In particular, Cummings noted that the two agencies will share a data center hosted at Cerner’s Kansas City, Mo., headquarters in which “both DoD and VA data will reside in a single platform.” She anticipates that the VA will “take advantage of the investments that we’ve made and then bring additional investments to that data center to increase the scope and scale.”
According to Cummings, records residing in a single EHR will eliminate the need for complex clinical interfaces or manual data entry between DoD and VA, and result in the adoption of common clinical workflows and shared cybersecurity architecture.
Cummings also observed that by acquiring the same Cerner EHR system the VA will be able capitalize on DoD investments to date in the Cerner platform, as well as benefit from lessons learned by the military during its recently completed MHS GENESIS initial operating capability phase.
VA Secretary David Shulkin, MD, told lawmakers on Wednesday that the agency plans to align the deployment and implementation of its new Cerner EHR with the rollout of DoD’s own Cerner system, which has so far been installed at four military sites in the Pacific Northwest.
“They are going to match their deployment schedule to match ours, and the great thing about that is the opportunity to partner up in the deployment of training and follow-up training, and to make sure the infrastructure is optimized for the region,” added Cummings. “As Secretary Shulkin said, we have great opportunities to create efficiencies for the taxpayer.”
DoD is awaiting the VA’s no-bid contract award to Cerner, she concluded. “As soon as that happens, we will be able to work even closer together.”
“We’re fully supportive of the true integration of the single system that the VA and the DoD aspire to have together and the lifetime record that it will create for our service men and women moving forward,” says Cerner President Zane Burke.
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