The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report this week urging the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to address data management challenges with its Electronic Health Records Modernization (EHRM) program, which has come under fire in recent months from Congress over a troubled roll-out and inaccurate cost estimates.


VA has released an EHRM deployment schedule for 2022 amid existing problems at the first deployment site in Spokane, Wash., such as worsened employee morale and job satisfaction due to the EHRM deployment.


GAO said such issues, including risks to patient safety, occurred due to incomplete data migration and the agency’s failure to establish performance measures and goals for migrated data quality.


“Until VA uses such measures and goals to better ensure the quality of migrated data, the department could deploy a new EHR system that does not meet clinicians’ needs and poses risks to the continuity of patient care,” GAO said.


Additionally, GAO found that while VA took steps to engage stakeholders, the agency “did not use a key tool known as a stakeholder register to identify and engage all key stakeholders.” As a result, some key stakeholders were overlooked.


GAO made two recommendations to VA. The first is to “establish and use performance measures and goals to ensure that the quality of migrated data meets stakeholder needs for accessibility, accuracy, and appropriateness prior to future system deployments.”


The second recommends VA “use a stakeholder register to improve the identification and engagement of all relevant EHRM stakeholders to address their reporting needs.”


VA concurred with GAO’s assessment and set a target completion date of March for each recommendation. 


This date would put the VA on track to improve data management challenges before its second EHRM deployment in Columbus, Ohio, scheduled for April 30.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.