Deployment of ‘Federal EHR’ Begins at Lovell Federal Health Care Center

March 11, 2024
VA said it is moving forward with deployment at Lovell FHCC despite pausing all other deployments under a reset of its EHR modernization program

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense have launched the first joint deployment of a “Federal EHR” at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center (Lovell FHCC) in North Chicago, Illinois.

VA said it is moving forward with deployment at Lovell FHCC despite pausing all other deployments under a reset of its EHR modernization program. VA said it continues to closely examine the issues that clinicians and other end users are experiencing at its sites using the Federal EHR and is developing the success criteria to determine when to exit the program reset and restart deployments at other facilities. As the first deployment at a larger, more complex VA healthcare facility, the experience at Lovell FHCC will help inform these decisions. Additional deployments will not be scheduled until VA is confident that the new EHR is highly functioning at all current sites and ready to deliver for Veterans and VA clinicians at future sites.

As the only fully integrated, jointly run VA and DOD healthcare system in the country, Lovell FHCC provides healthcare to approximately 75,000 patients each year, including veterans, service members and their families, and Navy recruits. The joint deployment ensures that all patients who visit the facility will receive care that is coordinated through a single fully integrated EHR system. The Federal EHR also improves the ability for VA and DOD to coordinate care and share data with each other and the rest of the U.S. healthcare system.

“The Federal EHR will enhance care for all beneficiaries who walk through our doors, whether they are Veterans, Navy recruits, students, active-duty service members, their dependents, or retirees,” said Robert Buckley, M.D., Lovell FHCC Director, in a statement. “It enables a continuum of care that will enhance our operations as we work to optimize health outcomes for those we serve.”

“This joint deployment of the Federal EHR at Lovell FHCC will provide a more coordinated experience for patients and the clinicians who care for them,” said acting program executive director of the Electronic Health Record Modernization Integration Office, Neil Evans, M.D., in a statement. “Additionally, while VA continues with the broader reset of our electronic health record modernization program, we are learning lessons from this deployment to inform our future decisions.”

“The launch of the Federal EHR at Lovell FHCC will help DOD and VA deliver on the promise made to those who serve our country to provide seamless care from their first day of active service to the transition to veteran status,” said Lester Martinez-Lopez, assistant secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, in a statement. “A joint electronic health record system demonstrates the power of technology to improve health care delivery, and we look forward to continued collaboration with our VA partners.”

A Feb. 15 hearing of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Technology Modernization highlighted ongoing pharmacy-related patient safety issues with the transition to the new Oracle electronic health record. 

David Case, deputy inspector general of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, testified about a draft Office of Inspector General report on the pharmacy-related issues. He said an OIG team reviewed pharmacy-related patient safety issues facing VHA providers, noting that VA has corrected one of a series of issues related to the transmission of inaccurate medication information into a database called the HDR (Health Data Repository), which stores clinical information about every patient's medications and allergies. “However, we are concerned about unresolved, insufficiently communicated pharmacy-related patient safety issues,” Case said. “Legacy EHR sites may have inaccurate medication information for patients treated at both legacy and new EHR sites.”

Sponsored Recommendations

Care Access Made Easy: A Guide to Digital Self-Service for MEDITECH Hospitals

Today’s consumers expect access to digital self-service capabilities at multiple points during their journey to accessing care. While oftentimes organizations view digital transformatio...

Going Beyond the Smart Room: Empowering Nursing & Clinical Staff with Ambient Technology, Observation, and Documentation

Discover how ambient AI technology is revolutionizing nursing workflows and empowering clinical staff at scale. Learn about how Orlando Health implemented innovative strategies...

Enabling efficiencies in patient care and healthcare operations

Labor shortages. Burnout. Gaps in access to care. The healthcare industry has rising patient, caregiver and stakeholder expectations around customer experiences, increasing the...

Findings on the Healthcare Industry’s Lag to Adopt Technologies to Improve Data Management and Patient Care

Join us for this April 30th webinar to learn about 2024's State of the Market Report: New Challenges in Health Data Management.