The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Electronic Health Records Modernization (EHRM) program may soon have another Federal agency coming on board, an agency official said this week.

“The mission for EHRM – the vision really – is for each veteran to have a comprehensive health record that is accessible across the Department of Veterans Affairs, DoD [Department of Defense], U.S. Coast Guard, and communicate [to] providers,” Laura Prietula, the deputy chief information officer (CIO) for the EHRM program, said during an Oct. 25 FCW event.

“This will enhance the quality of their health care – and soon we’re probably going to also have another Federal agency joining us,” Prietula hinted during the event.

That Federal agency, she said, is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which has about 12,000 employees.

The Federal Electronic Health Record Modernization (FEHRM) office is the one bringing all of these Federal agencies together, Prietula said, and it is currently working with NOAA to bring it on board to the EHRM program.

“Our mission in my office is really to seamlessly transition the electronic health record into a modernized platform that is safe and easy to use and embrace,” she said. “And how we achieve this really is by making sure that there’s one electronic health record across the departments.”

GDIT Emerge Healthcare
Learn how technology is expanding new horizons in innovation for health agencies.  Learn more.

“It’s not an interoperable information that we’re shipping left and right to each one of the agencies, really it is a common repository of information across agencies and the U.S. Coast Guard,” she added. “So, this joint electronic health record system, it will enable us to provide integrated care and services to our veterans.”

Although it is unclear when NOAA may join in the effort, the news of another potential agency joining the EHRM effort comes as the DoD and VA are on different timelines with their EHR platforms.

While the VA signed on for Oracle Cerner’s Millennium EHR platform in 2018, the Department of Defense (DoD) acquired the platform in 2015 and is further ahead with its progress.

As of June of this year, the Pentagon was more than 50 percent complete with the deployment of its EHR program, MHS GENESIS, and on track to complete deployment efforts by the end of 2023.

However, the VA announced earlier this month that it will delay further deployments of its Oracle Cerner EHR system until June 2023 to address well-publicized challenges with the system and ensure it functions effectively for veterans and VA healthcare personnel.

Read More About
More Topics
Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.