More VA-Oracle Cerner fallout? Deputy secretary, EHR executive director depart agency

EHR Trouble falls with a thud on two senior VA leaders. The Department of Veterans Affairs announced yesterday (1 March) that Deputy Secretary Donald Remy will be stepping down from his post. He will be replaced on an interim basis by VA Assistant Secretary for Enterprise Integration Guy Kiyokawa. This follows the resignation effective 25 February of Terry Adirim, MD, EHR modernization (EHRM) program executive director. Her duties will be taken over, also on an interim basis, by Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Information and Technology (OIT), Dr. Neil Evans. The Deputy Secretary position requires nomination by the President and Senate confirmation. The EHRM position is an internal fill.

Both Deputy Secretary Remy and director Adirim were named to their posts in mid-to-late 2021, Dr. Adirim from Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. Remy specifically oversaw the EHRM among other duties while Dr. Adirim led the implementation of the Oracle Cerner Millenium EHR that started with an analysis of the failures of the initial tests and the formation of an EHR Integration Council [TTA 3 Dec 21]. But from this ‘go forth and fail no more’, the rethought rollout was fraught with failures, including the 2022  ‘unknown queue’ that created 149 adverse events, a two-day slowdown in both the VA and MHS EHRs in late January 2023, and delayed rollouts to June this year. Perhaps the topper was the chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee and the chair of the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Technology Modernization co-sponsoring a bill to cancel the Oracle Cerner EHR and return to VistA [TTA 1 Feb]. At the end of February, Ann Arbor Healthcare Center pointed out that VA’s research centers were having specific problems with the EHR cutover that had not been addressed and were cause for further delay, possibly to end of year. Will this change lead to progress with Oracle–or more delay? FedScoop 1 March, 10 Feb. Hat tip to HISTalk 3 March

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