The Department of Veterans Affairs has had it’s share of issues and the IT technology it has been using is lagging significantly. A big decision is pending with a new EMR selection or upgrade the existing VistA. Just ask any veteran that has gone through their system and they will tell you what the experience is like. If the decision is Cerner, what impact does this have on Cerner to the private sector who are using Cerner systems?

David Shulkin, MD, the U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary, met with reporters at a White House press briefing on Wednesday.  He spoke about the ‘chronic issues’ and challenges affecting the agency. Shulkin noted that the VA’s biggest issues are: care access, healthcare quality, reimbursement to providers who care for veterans outside of the VA, extending the choice program, and the VA’s severely outdated IT system. In the area of IT “twenty percent of our system is running on out of date IT,” he said. “And 75 percent of the IT budget is spent on just maintenance. Our legacy systems are old and crippling, while our schedule and maintenance systems are outdated.” The VA will either outsource its current IT system to a commercial vendor or replace it’s outdated VistA  (EHR) with a commercial off-the-shelf system, said Shulkin. The IT issue is the most cost-intensive issue on Shulkin’s to-do list. He plans to return to Congress for more funding by July, after he has made his decision on the IT system.