The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced that it will be advancing its electronic health record modernization (EHRM) program and add two new positions to help the program move forward.

This updated plan will help mitigate challenges that were found in the Comprehensive Lessons Learned report that was submitted to Congress. It also adds two new positions: a program executive director (PED) for EHR integration and a deputy CIO for EHR.

“We will do everything we can to get electronic health records right for Veterans and our health care staff, with patient safety being the key driver and nonnegotiable,” VA Deputy Secretary Donald M. Remy said in a press release. “I have incorporated the lessons learned I received during my recent meetings with our team at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, Washington, into this new way forward.”

The PED position will be responsible for cross-organizational and cross-functional coordination of communication and implementation strategies, to include functional, technical, and program management.

The deputy CIO, meanwhile, will “assume all technology integration functions for the program and ensure close bidirectional communication with technical staff at local sites.”

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“Under my direction, VA is refining EHR governance and management structures to establish additional rigor and oversight. VA, in coordination with our partners, the Department of Defense and EHR vendor Cerner, will continue to update and refine the EHR implementation process to ensure it delivers the excellence Veterans expect and deserve from VA,” Remy added.

Further, this updated plan calls for a “significantly strengthened Office of the Functional Champion, which will increase the Veterans Health Administration’s engagement and expand the functional champion role.

Lastly, the strategic review identified a need for greater clarity of responsibilities and empowerment of a governance structure to better receive stakeholder input and ensure timely decision making.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.