As the Department of Veterans Affairs continues its efforts to modernize its health care infrastructure and better leverage new technologies, one key goal will be updating its electronic health records system. Now, as Politico first reported, companies are beginning to vie for what will likely be a contract in the billions. Among the likely contenders: Cerner, Epic, and Allscripts.
As Politico’s Arthur Allen notes, Cerner may have the early edge in the competition, given that it has already been tasked with building the new EHR system, GENESIS EHR, at the Department of Defense. Earlier in February, the department announced that the first installation of the system had been completed. This, of course, would seemingly facilitate information sharing between the agencies as they continue to work toward interoperability. However, Epic CEO and founder Judy Faulkner dismissed this claim. “People who think that they have to put Cerner into VA for interoperability don’t understand technology and don’t understand where the real places of care take place for veterans,” she told Politico.
For his part, newly confirmed VA Secretary David Shulkin, himself a physician, appears committed to updating the agency’s health care infrastructure. Further, policymakers and industry stakeholders alike have seem confident in Shulkin’s ability to do just that. In a statement shortly after his nomination, HIMSS pointed to the secretary’s “leadership and understanding,” and expressed optimism about his embrace of technology. “As the VA capitalizes on advancements in interoperability, telehealth, cybersecurity, and care delivery, we look forward to engaging in a thoughtful dialogue with Secretary Shulkin and the VA team to improve access to high-quality care for veterans, caregivers, and providers throughout the VA system,” the organization stated.