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Denis McDonough Testifies Before House Panel on VA’s EHR Modernization Effort

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Denis McDonough
Denis McDonough VA Secretary

Denis McDonough, secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), said he believes VA could meet its timeline for the implementation of its new electronic health record system amid setbacks with the EHR at its first go-live site in Spokane, Washington, Federal News Network reported Thursday.

McDonough acknowledged the productivity concerns with Cerner’s Millennium EHR system before the House Veterans Affairs Committee Thursday.

“We’re seeing productivity declines bigger than I would have anticipated, but importantly also continuing longer than I would have anticipated,” he said.

He also agreed with lawmakers that clinicians at the Veterans Health Administration should play a key role in developing the requirements for the EHR platform.

“At the end of the day, this is about service provision and outcomes for the vets,” McDonough said. “That has to be what drives it, and the best proxy for that right now is making sure that our practitioners, clinicians, doctors… and nurses understand what it means and see its benefit. If they don’t, we’re going to be in this box for a long time.”

On March 19th, McDonough announced a 12-week strategic review of VA’s EHR modernization effort to address issues with the system, which was first deployed at the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane.