Achieve seamless and secure data interoperability across VA, DoD, Federal, and commercial partners by identifying, documenting, and disseminating well-defined, standardized, and secure design, interfaces, and processes to access authoritative data that streamlines the Veteran experience.
VA Begins Electronic Health Record Modernization
VA is in the early stages of moving from its current EHR system, Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA) — which stores health information and tracks patient care in 130 related but distinct health record systems — to Cerner Millennium. The system will integrate with DoD’s Military Health System (MHS) patient records system, Cerner MHS GENESIS; unify all VA hospitals and medical centers within a single system; and simplify and expedite scheduling and other health care tasks for Veterans and the VA staff and clinicians who serve them.
VA selected the Spokane VAMC as the first VA site to pilot the VA’s DoD-compatible EHR system because of its proximity to Fairchild Air Force Base (AFB) 92nd Medical Group, which is already using DoD’s version of the Cerner EHR solution. Spokane is one of three initial operating capability sites where VA staff will deploy and test the new EHR system prior to enterprise-wide deployment, which will take place over the next 10 years.
OIT Prepares for Electronic Health Record Modernization
Over the past few years, OIT’s Solution Delivery Health Systems Engineering team has led multiple VA offices in more than 100 major data migrations across the country. This extremely complex effort supports VA’s Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM).
This effort, which is currently focused on moving away from older legacy and proprietary hardware, will ultimately replace VistA with a new and improved EHR system developed by Cerner. To meet the current objectives, VA is updating VistA to a Linux platform to improve performance and functionality for Veterans and VA medical providers. The Linux platform offers upgraded operating and database software, improved system availability, and quicker response time, as well as optimized storage and a virtual machine platform to support VA’s next big step: moving our EHR to the cloud.
Since September 2012, the team migrated all 29 Veterans Health Administration (VHA) sites in Region 2, all 41 sites in Region 3, all 27 sites in Region 4, and 10 of the 35 sites in Region 1. In addition, the ten migrated sites in Region 1 have been moved to a fully virtualized Linux platform, which reduced hardware requirements for supporting multiple operating systems, an essential step before OIT could evaluate moving VistA to the cloud. The remaining sites are expected to be migrated by 2020.
The success of VistA migrations is a model for VA teams in terms of excellent service delivery that can be achieved with cross-agency collaborations and detailed planning. The migrations are important to the VA mission and lead to improved health care for Veterans by ensuring more efficient record delivery when and where they are needed. Fewer delays in needed care leads to better health outcomes for individual Veterans.
My HealtheVet Migrates to VA Enterprise Cloud
Migrating My HealtheVet — VA’s innovative online health care access and information gateway — to the VA enterprise cloud is netting big returns for Veterans, including improved system reliability and better response speeds. But the benefits don’t stop there; My HealtheVet, now hosted by Amazon Web Services, has more robust data security, performance monitoring, and operating capabilities to meet Veterans’ evolving needs.
As a result of the migration, OIT can monitor the My HealtheVet system, connections, and applications to continually improve the user experience. OIT can also take quicker action to make system modifications when needed. These improvements further bolster data security and ensure Veterans have access to most up-to-date information.
To achieve these benefits, OIT’s My HealtheVet team set up development, testing, pre-production, and production environments. They migrated over 11 terabytes of data to the new repository, synchronized databases, completed over 10,000 test cases, verified connections with over 7,000 IP addresses, verified connections with 16 external applications, upgraded security access for more than 70 people, and obtained Authority to Operate, adhering to the Federal Information Security Act and Federal Risk and Authorization Program.
OIT continues to seek ways to improve the Veteran experience through modernization and improvement of existing IT tools focused on meeting Veteran needs.
VA Outfits Spokane Staff with Upgraded Devices to Access the New Electronic Health Record
To pave the way for the Electronic Health Record Modernization and the Cerner Millennium deployment, OIT furnished Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center staff with 1,700 laptops, desktops, and mobile devices with increased speed, better start-up and log-in times, increased security, and bigger screens.
The new EHR will deliver long-term continuity of records starting at enlistment to enhance the quality of health care and remove the burden from Veterans to locate, manage, and transfer health records across DoD, individual VA hospitals and medical centers, and community care providers.