Cerner to showcase Apple collaboration at HIMSS18, president Zane Burke says 

The EHR maker will also be featuring innovations in longitudinal health records, cloud services, machine learning and more to help customers manage value-based contracting.

“We’ll showcase our collaboration with Apple to make health records available at your fingertips in the Apple Health app,” said Cerner President Zane Burke.

HIMSS18 will be a pivotal one for Cerner in many ways. It’s the first with new CEO Brent Shafer, who has big shoes to fill as the first outside hire to lead the company since founder and longtime CEO Neal Patterson passed away last summer.

And it comes as the company has arguably more big projects on its to-do list than ever, including the massive ongoing MHS Genesis project for the U.S. Department of Defense and the upcoming contract with the Department of Veterans Affairs – to its continuing innovation on any number of fronts, from consumerism to the cloud, interoperability to artificial intelligence.

“Recently, Cerner and Apple worked together to make personal health information accessible on a consumer platform, and we’re working with a range of partners and clients to turn up the heat on the conversation about interoperability,” Cerner President Zane Burke said. “We’ll showcase our collaboration with Apple to make health records available at your fingertips in the Apple Health app.”

Burke added that Cerner will also be offering a look at virtual health solutions that empower individuals to manage their health via telemedicine and remote monitoring technologies as well as intelligent solutions for hospitals as they adjust to rising costs and value-based care.

“We’re at a pivot point with the digitization of health information, and we are redefining the idea of ‘care.’” Burke said. “We’re moving from managing patient encounters to providing for the well-being of populations.”

Cerner is particularly focused on the growing clout of the healthcare consumer and is committed to activating and engaging patients to be more proactive in their own health. Central to this work is the agility and speed offered by cloud technology, and Burke said Cerner continues to work with leading companies in industries other than healthcare to build on its own cloud-based offerings.

Cerner’s founding membership in the CommonWell Health Alliance – which was first announced five years ago at HIMSS13 – is one way to help innovate on the interoperability front, he said, and the company is committed to the co-creation of an open platform for innovation by leveraging FHIR standards through its work with the Argonaut Project.

More fluid data exchange, particularly with the DoD, was a major driver for the contract Cerner was awarded for the VA’s new EHR this past June, of course. Although the contract is currently on pause while MITRE does an independent assessment of its specifications, Burke said the VA project ultimately will “not only create seamless care for our nation’s veterans, it will also fundamentally change interoperability in the commercial healthcare space — something we are very excited about.”

Population health management is another imperative in the era of value-based reimbursement, and it’s another area “where Cerner continues to grow,” he said. “Providers need data that is actionable at an individual and community level to improve care. Cerner is uniquely positioned, through our cloud-based platform HealtheIntent, to pull all those data points together, aggregate and normalize the data and feed it back into the workflow for clinicians to act on.”

And analytics to help mine that data for the most useful insights are fast-evolving too – largely driven by lightning-fast advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning, which “remain a key focus for Cerner,” said Burke.

He pointed to early efforts such as the Cerner HealtheDataLab technology, which offers a secure environment where researchers and data scientists can “query de-identified data, extract and transform data sets in research-ready formats, build complex models and algorithms and validate findings in a single elastic environment.”

Cerner is in Booth 1832.

Source: Cerner to showcase Apple collaboration at HIMSS18, president Zane Burke says | Healthcare IT News

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Mastering Data Sovereignty – CIO Journal

Amid ongoing concerns over data privacy, ownership, and governance, technology leaders are playing a critical role in making data broadly available throughout the enterprise, while also ensuring compliance with an array of differing data regulations around the globe.

CIOs can take advantage of a holistic data management approach and new cognitive capabilities to increase data accessibility and control.

As data grows in complexity and importance, IT leaders are entering a new era of data management. There is increasing demand to make data freely accessible, understandable, and actionable across business units, departments, and geographies to enable digital transformation efforts. At the same time, many global companies are under pressure to comply with varying country-specific rules about what data may be shared within or beyond geographic borders.

The good news is that CIOs can take advantage of new data management techniques and tools to strike the right balance between accessibility and control. Now is an opportune time for IT leaders, working in partnership with their business peers, to develop an “enterprise data sovereignty” road map to facilitate understanding of data relationships, guide data storage, and manage data rights. And by employing new cognitive capabilities, they can automate aspects of data management, redesign data architecture, and elevate data stewardship.

A holistic approach to data architecture and management can help improve the performance of this business-critical asset, helping to foster innovation and growth. It can also serve as a platform for helping organizations comply with existing and expected national data sovereignty rules around the world.

Data Wants to Be Free

There is no question that the ability to strategically manage ever-growing stores of data will be a competitive advantage in the digital age. In many companies, data collection, access, and management remain siloed by department, business unit, or geography. However, as companies seek to digitally transform, data must be more freely accessible throughout organizations for companies to realize their full potential.

Historically, few companies have been able to master data management—even when much of that data was structured and stored in tables or basic systems. As data has grown in volume and variety, those challenges have multiplied. With many organizations doubling their data every two years, short-term strategies for data computing and storage can quickly become obsolete. New data management architectures and strategies are likely needed to accommodate the big data explosion.

That’s where enterprise data sovereignty comes in: It’s a way for IT and business leaders to develop a holistic data management strategy for the organization, with the goal of making data available, consistent, and controlled throughout the company. CIOs who take this approach know where data is stored; who has access to it; and how or whether it moves beyond business unit, geographic, or company boundaries.

Over the next 18 to 24 months, more companies will likely begin modernizing their data management in this way, working to increase data discipline and availability. Viewing data through the lens of enterprise data sovereignty can help companies solve challenges related to architecture, global regulatory compliance, and data ownership.

Whose Data Is It Anyway?

One of the first issues IT and business leaders confront in developing an enterprise data sovereignty plan is data ownership. In the past, IT owned the systems and, therefore, the data. That’s not necessarily the case anymore.

Going forward, the question of data ownership will be answered differently in different companies. There will be no one-size-fits-all approach. Many organizations will employ a data steward focused primarily on data quality and uniformity. Some organizations are hiring chief data officers, but their focus is less on managing data than on illuminating and curating the insights the data yields. In many companies, there may be no de facto owner at all. In any case, the most important decisions may concern not who owns the data, but rather what principles govern data management and access and how those rules are operationalized.

Organizations that are beginning to master enterprise data sovereignty share some common success factors. First, they bring together key stakeholders to determine goals for data quality, uniformity, collection, storage, and aggregation. They also have a data management function, owned and led by the business, that enforces decisions about management, governance, and consumption. This hybrid approach—having some level of centralization to enforce decisions made by a cross-functional stakeholder group—is typically the most effective way to operationalize enterprise data sovereignty.

Data Architectures for the Future

Creating a modern data architecture is challenging for most organizations. Even for those with a track record of success, traditional master data management, data quality, and data governance processes may fail to keep pace with data flowing in from new places in different formats.

IT leaders who want to build a platform for enterprise data sovereignty consider not only how and where data is stored, but also the sourcing and provisioning of authoritative data, metadata management, master data management, information access and delivery, data security, and data-archiving capabilities.

Thankfully, today’s IT leaders can take advantage of advanced components to build their data management architectures. The following new cognitive capabilities can help organizations better manage data across its life cycle—from consumption to analysis:

  • Ingestion and signal-processing hubs can make sense of structured and unstructured data from public, social, private, and device sources.
  • Cognitive data stewards can help users understand new compliance requirements and augment human data stewards.
  • Data integrity and compliance engines work to enhance data quality and fill data gaps to help ensure data quality and integrity.
  • Dynamic data fabrics understand the interconnectivity of data and can maintain metadata and linkages as data moves through different systems.
  • Enterprise intelligent layers employ machine learning to illuminate deep data insights and help increase confidence in real-time analytics.

Maintaining Global Compliance

National data sovereignty rules, such as the much-anticipated General Data Protection Regulation in the European Union, are also an issue. While the cost of compliance with various regulatory requirements will be substantial, the price of noncompliance is likely to be even higher.

Taking an enterprise data sovereignty approach can help companies deal with the thorny issue of maintaining compliance with regulatory and privacy requirements that differ dramatically by nation. CIOs can also deploy technology solutions for global regulatory compliance. A sophisticated rules engine deployed directly into cloud servers can apply myriad rules to data dynamically to determine which stakeholders in specific jurisdictions are allowed access to what data. IT leaders can also segregate data into logical cloud instances by legal jurisdiction and deploy controls to limit cloud access to those data stores to users in each locale.

At a business level, it can also be valuable to shift the focus from managing and sharing data to managing and sharing insights. Insights, after all, can be transferred freely throughout a global organization even when data cannot.

Where to Begin

The Holy Grail for IT leaders is an enterprise data sovereignty strategy that can handle growing volumes of data in an agile, efficient, and controlled manner. The distance between today’s data management reality and that end state can seem daunting, but there are some actions IT leaders can take to move in the right direction:

  • Pay down data debt. Smart IT leaders can confront the extent of their existing data sprawl in order to understand the magnitude of the issues to be addressed.
  • Begin at the beginning. Many of a company’s data problems can be traced upstream to the information supply chain, where CIOs can focus their efforts to link, merge, route, and cleanse data.
  • Use metadata—and lots of it. Adding metadata to raw data at the point of ingestion is among the best ways to enhance data context.
  • Employ a cognitive data steward. Leveraging advanced AI technologies to assist human data stewards can free data professionals to focus on the bigger data sovereignty picture.

*****

The enterprise data landscape is only becoming more complex, with new and increasingly unstructured data coming online every day and a dynamic global regulatory environment. That’s why forward-looking IT leaders are beginning their data modernizations efforts today.

—by Bill Briggs, principal and chief technology officer; Juan Tello, principal; and Ashish Verma, managing director, Deloitte Consulting LLP

 

Source: Mastering Data Sovereignty – CIO Journal – WSJ

More than 1,000 hospitals have closed in 35 years. Ezekiel Emanuel says that’s a good thing.

More than 1,000 hospitals have closed in 35 years. Ezekiel Emanuel says that’s a good thing.

In the past 35 years, hospitalizations have declined by more than 10% as more patients migrate to urgent-care centers, physicians’ offices, and at-home care—and the disappearance of hospitals is “inevitable and good,” Ezekiel Emanuel writes in a provocative op-ed for the New York Times.

Emanuel, a prominent physician and vice provost at the University of Pennsylvania, writes that U.S. hospitalizations reached their peak more than 35 years ago, in 1981. There are now fewer hospitalizations than in 1946.

Due to this decline, the number of hospitals has fallen as well, from 6,933 in 1981 to 5,534 this year.

 

Why hospitals are disappearing

One reason hospitals are disappearing, according to Emanuel, is that patients increasingly view hospitals as potentially dangerous places to be—”less therapeutic,” he writes, “and more life-threatening.”

In 2002, there were 1.7 million cases of hospital-acquired infections, resulting in nearly 100,000 deaths, according to CDC research. Plus, hospitalizations create risks of medical errors and falls—and constant interruptions in the middle of the night “are not conducive to recovery,” Emanuel writes.

Further, providers increasingly can provide complex care outside of the hospital, Emanuel writes. For example, anti-nausea medications and new forms of treatment mean that many cancer patients no longer have to receive their chemotherapy at hospitals. Similarly, hip and knee replacements are often performed at ambulatory surgical centers rather than at the hospital. Births frequently happen either at home or at birthing centers.

These trends will continue, Emanuel contends, and as they do, more hospitals will downsize, merge, close, or turn into doctors’ offices or outpatient clinics. The hospitals that remain, he writes, will focus on their ED, complex procedures like organ transplantation or brain surgery, and similarly urgent and high-complexity services.

Emanuel’s provocative argument about how hospitals will respond

Emanuel writes that, while he believes the shift away from hospitals will benefit patients, special interest groups within the hospital business may find it threatening. As such, he argues that hospitals are likely to lobby for higher payments from the government and insurers “to retain the ‘good’ jobs hospitals offer.”

But Emanuel argues that “the shift of medical services out of hospitals will create other good jobs—for home nurses, community health care workers and staff at outpatient centers.”

Further, revenue pressures will lead even more hospitals to consolidate and merge into massive health systems. Emanuel writes that the hospitals will claim that these mergers will create cost savings for the consumer, but he argues that these “mergers create local monopolies that raise prices to counter the decreased revenue from fewer occupied beds.” Federal antitrust regulators, he argues, should oppose these mergers.

“Instead of trying to forestall the inevitable, we should welcome the advances that are making hospitals less important,” Emanuel writes. “Any change in the healthcare system that saves money and makes patients healthier deserves to be celebrated” (Emanuel, New York Times, 2/25).

Source: More than 1,000 hospitals have closed in 35 years. Ezekiel Emanuel says that’s a good thing. | Advisory Board Daily Briefing

Flex Expands Digital Health Capabilities, Launches BrightInsight Connected Health Solution on Google Cloud Platform

Advanced medical-grade managed services solution analyzes connected medical device data and therapies, delivering real-time insights within a regulatory-compliant environment

SAN JOSE, Calif., March 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Flex (FLEX), the Sketch-to-Scale™ solutions provider that designs and builds intelligent products for a connected world, has expanded its service offerings for the healthcare industry with a new digital health offering. BrightInsight is a secure, managed services solution built on Google Cloud Platform that can aggregate data and deliver real-time insights to optimize the value of connected drug, device or combination products. The company made the announcement ahead of the annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference, taking place March 5-9 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The  McKinsey Global Institute estimates that applying big-data strategies to better inform healthcare-related decision making could generate up to $100 billion in value annually across the U.S. healthcare system. Medical devices today collect massive amounts of data, which creates enormous potential for a rapid feedback loop that can help improve patient care and enhance drug therapy delivery and management. In order to make an impact, the data needs to be aggregated from a myriad of apps and stand-alone devices, as well as analyzed to provide actionable insights. BrightInsight solves these challenges and helps patients and health care professionals, from physicians to medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers, to better understand medical device usage and medication adherence, and streamline the product development and certification process.

“We saw the need for a secure cloud platform designed to support highly-regulated connected drug delivery and medical devices, going beyond simple connectivity to deliver real-time intelligence and actionable insights,” said Kal Patel, MD, senior vice president of Digital Health for Flex. “With our 20 years of experience operating in global regulated medical environments, and having deployed more than 75 regulated hardware and software medical products, Flex can combine our cross-industry capabilities to simplify our customers’ digital transformation.”

Flex is partnering with Google Cloud to deliver insights through customizable analytics dashboards fueled by Google Cloud’s advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. Google Cloud Platform enables BrightInsight to securely store, analyze and gain insights from health information, without pharmaceutical and medical technology customers having to manage the underlying infrastructure. Advanced use cases for BrightInsight may include controlling connected devices, drug dosing, decision support, personalized patient interventions, trend analysis and AI-driven insights.

“Google Cloud is committed to leveraging our deep engineering expertise to accelerate innovation in digital healthcare,” said Gregory Moore, MD, PhD, vice president, Healthcare, Google Cloud. “With a partner like Flex, we will enable our customers to develop innovative solutions and leverage machine learning-based analytics that can turn new data sets from wearables, medical devices, therapies and apps into actionable information for patients and providers.”

BrightInsight is designed to support CE-marked and FDA-regulated Class I, II and III medical devices, combination products and Software as a Medical Device requirements, enabling automated interventions. Deployed as a managed service, the BrightInsight platform allows pharmaceutical and medical technology companies to accelerate their time to market, reduce the cost of implementation and maintenance across multiple products, and scale for global markets.

BrightInsight features foundational capabilities for rapid development and a modular platform architecture to support customization and worldwide implementation. It is built from the ground up to securely manage highly regulated medical device data and personal health information, and Flex has put the people, technology and processes in place to monitor security and threat prevention to meet global compliance standards.

BrightInsight eliminates regulatory bottlenecks that can lead to costly delays by offering turnkey regulatory design control and file management of master files with the FDA. This service enables pharmaceutical and medical technology companies to focus on their drug, device or combination product submissions without the burden of documenting the software platform.

Source: Flex Expands Digital Health Capabilities, Launches BrightInsight Connected Health Solution on Google Cloud Platform

Uber is driving patients to their doctors in a big grab for medical transit market – The Verge

Big money, and bigger pitfalls, await the ride-hailing giant

Uber announced the launch of a new digital tool meant to book rides for patients who need assistance getting to and from their appointments. A health care provider can book a ride for patients and caregivers immediately, within a few hours, or with 30 days’ notice. The company is positioning itself as a cheaper and more reliable option than most non-emergency medical transportation.

Uber Health is available in two versions: as an online dashboard and as an API for software developers to integrate ride-hailing capabilities into their own health care tools. The service doesn’t require an Uber account; notifications can arrive via SMS text message. The company plans to expand the service so that people with landlines will be able to get trip details that way — or via a mobile phone that isn’t a smartphone. Uber says the billing is simple and easy to manage. It’s also compliant with our most important medical privacy law. Today’s announcement includes over 100 health care providers all across the US.

The non-medical-emergency medical transportation market is worth more than $3 billion, according to the Transit Cooperative Research Program, a federally funded independent research entity. A lot of that money is for people who can’t drive — either because of age or poverty — and so Medicare and Medicaid providers foot the bill. Uber has clearly become interested in the industry. In 2016, Uber partnered with Boston-based company Circulation to provide rides for patients to more than 700 participating health facilities in 25 states. And last January, the company hired a veteran lobbyist in Washington, DC, to pursue the ride-hailing company’s agenda on policies related to health care and medical records privacy. It’s not the only ride-share company looking for a piece of this market: Lyft also teamed up with Circulation and with insurer CareMore Health Systems.

“If there are people who are missing their appointments because they’re using an unreliable bus service to get to and from their healthcare provider, this is a great solution for them,” Chris Weber, general manager of Uber Health, told The Verge. “The types of individuals this is valuable for really is limitless.”

An average of 3.6 million Americans miss their health care appointments every year because of unreliable transportation, according to JAMA Internal Medicine. Missed appointments can trigger a chain reaction of increased emergency room visits, extended hospital readmissions, and higher costs distributed across the industry. Experts estimate the impact of these missed appointments is $150 billion every year.

Uber Health is compliant with the US’s health care rules on data privacy, known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA. “We built this service from the ground-up in a fully HIPAA-compliant technology stack,” Weber said. “It was architected from Day One. Everything we built from a technology perspective was built to fit within the constraints and best practices of HIPAA.”

And while being HIPAA-compliant is a good thing, it doesn’t necessarily get rid of all the risk. “Even if a platform is HIPAA-compliant, providers risk potential imposition of stiff penalties for data breaches, and business associate agreements should be implemented between providers and ridesharing companies,” legal consultants from Carlton Fields wrote in a 2016 note entitled “Offering Ridesharing Services to Patients: Uber Risky?”

Uber was hit by a cyberattack in 2016, exposing the personal information of 57 million riders and drivers. Later, the company was accused of trying to cover it up.

Uber also doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to wheelchair accessibility. The company was sued by disability advocates last year, accused of denying equal access to people who use wheelchairs and violating Title 3 of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Weber said, “It’s definitely something we’re focused on making a better, more reliable experience, but as of now this is really focused on reaching out to the existing driver network.”

Even as the ride-hailing company tightens its grip on all forms of transportation, don’t expect this to lead to Uber-branded ambulances in the near future. “Not on our road map,” Weber said.

Source: Uber is driving patients to their doctors in a big grab for medical transit market – The Verge

CrowdCrypto Newsletter by Robin Sosnow,the goal of this newsletter is to share valuable insights, incite conversation, and to bring awareness to the evolving regulatory. 

Image result for blockchain newsCrowdCrypto Newsletter by Robin Sosnow, securities attorney in NYC, graduate school professor at CMU, and founder of LawLab. The goal of this newsletter is to share valuable insights, incite conversation, and to bring awareness to the evolving regulatory

 

 

CRYPTO NEWS
🇺🇸 USA Regulatory Spotlight: 

  • 🔥New York State’s controversial BitLicense regulation may be one step closer to revision, as NY lawmakers on Friday agreed that a bill to reform may come “very soon”. The NY State BitLicense regulations were introduced in 2015 in attempts to regulate business use of virtual currencies, but has proven to be prohibitive as only three BitLicenses have been granted since its adoption.

Cryptocurrency Spotlight:

  • 🔥🔥Cloud-based messaging app Telegram destroyed the blockchain fundraising record previously held by Filecoin, raising $850 million in an ICO that began Jan. 29. It is reported that Telegram plans to raise $1.2 billion at the conclusion of the sale.

Global Spotlight:

  • 🇷🇺Russia continued their move towards embracing a blockchain democracy, integrating the ethereum blockchain into their “Active Citizen” program, where residents of the city of Moscow vote on initiatives to improve the city. The inclusion of blockchain technology is a move towards voter-government transparency, with opportunities for voters to monitor the voting process in real time on the blockchain.
  • 🇯🇵In Japan, 16 cryptocurrency exchanges have banded together to begin the process ofcreating a self-regulatory body after the infamous Coincheck theft that resulted in $530 NEM being stolen less than a month ago. The goal of this initiative is to provide investors with greater security and to create an environment of regulatory practices that all accredited exchange operators will adhere to.

Events Spotlight: 

  • Blockchain Week NYC: A series of events, including the Consensus conference, an industry Hackathon, and a Blockchain Job Fair. May 11-17.
  • Crypto Invest Summit: Join industry leaders at the largest crypto expo space in the world. Los Angeles. Apr. 30 – May 2.
EQUITY CROWDFUNDING NEWS
Equity Crowdfunding Spotlight:

  • 🔥🔥🔥This week, UK crowdfunding platform SyndicateRoom released a report indicating that investors in early-stage equities, such as startups, have enjoyed seven consecutive years of 30% growth. The report analyzed 519 UK startups founded between 2011 and 2017 and found that the FInTech industry posted the highest growth rate at 63%. Read the in-depth report here to find out more about the strength of startups.
  • On Feb. 28, innovative funding platform PITCH drops and with it comes a new wave of token investment into startups. Entrepreneurs post summaries of products, prepare on-demand pitches for live audiences, and offer tokens for purchase during the live pitches to fund startups.

Source: CrowdCrypto Newsletter Issue #10

ICOs Raised Over $1 Billion in 2018 So Far

It’s still the beginning of the year while 40 ICOs raised over $1 billion in 2018 so far the nascent industry is on pace to top last year’s mark of $5.6 billion.

With over 40 ICOs and over $1 billion raised already in the new year, the nascent industry is on pace to top last year’s mark of $5.6 billion.

2018: AN EVEN BIGGER YEAR FOR ICOS?

Last year, there were 902 so-called Initial Coin Offerings (or ICO) projects tracked by TokenData. Out of that amount, 142 failed prior to the offering, and another 276 failed after raising funds.

But despite a lackluster success rate of about 48%, startups still managed to raise $5.6 billion USD in 2017, according to Business Insider.

Just under a half (435) of the ICOs were considered to be a success, raising an average of $12.7 million, while the ten largest offerings comprised 25% of the total money raised, according to TokenData.

ICOs

In 2018 so far, the trend is not showing any signs of slowing down. With 48 ICOs into the year, the amount raised so far exceeds $1.1 billion, according to data from Coinschedule.

What’s more is that this figure does not yet include the Telegram ICO that already secured over $850 million in a pre-sale as it aims for its goal of $2 billion later this year.

The top three ICO categories so far in 2018 include Trading & Investing, Finance, and Communications. These comprised over a third of all offerings. Moreover, the lion’s share of this sum ($525 million) has been scooped up by the top ten ICO projects in Pareto fashion, led by Envion—a company promising “off-grid mining solutions” that managed to raise $100 million.

At this rate, ICO projects could raise well over $7 billion USD by the end of 2018. But if last year is anything to go by, the pace could ramp up at any time as an explosion of ICO activity and funds raised occurred in the second half of 2017.

Therefore, the figure could go well into double digits, depending on how the regulatory environment develops in 2018 across key regions, such as the EU and the United States.

 

Source: ICOs Raised Over $1 Billion in 2018 So Far

House balks at $10 billion price tag for VA-Cerner EHR project | Healthcare IT News


VA Secretary David Shulkin, MD, testifies at the House VA Committee meeting on Thursday. Credit: YouTube

VA Committee Chair Phil Roe was also concerned that the amount doesn’t cover maintenance or the cost to update the infrastructure necessary to accommodate the new platform.

As the time draws near for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to sign its EHR contract with Cerner, Congressional members are growing increasingly concerned over not only the $10 billion price tag, but that the agency will need to keep the legacy system in place, perhaps indefinitely.

“While the EHR modernization effort is necessary, it is very expensive,” House VA Committee Chairman Phil Roe, MD, R-Tennessee, said during the Thursday hearing on the VA’s 2019 budget requests.

“The contract with Cerner alone has a price tag of about $10 billion and that doesn’t even include the costs of updating infrastructure to accommodate the new EHR, implementation support or sustaining VistA up until the day it can be turned off,” he continued.

In fact, Roe is concerned that the VA’s legacy EHR may never be completely gone.

“After visiting Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington, recently, I’m not even sure you can ever turn VistA off,” Roe said.

President Donald Trump released his proposed FY19 budget this week, which earmarked $1.2 billion to get the project with Cerner off the ground. VA Secretary David Shulkin, MD put the potential Cerner contract on hold in January, pending an independent review of Cerner’s interoperability capabilities.

While Roe applauded Shulkin’s move to ensure interoperability, he’s still not certain the project can be successful.

“It’s unthinkable that VA could potentially spend billions of dollars on a project that doesn’t substantially increase the department’s ability to share information with the Department of Defense or community providers,” Roe said. “But that’s exactly what could happen if VA fails to proceed in a careful deliberate manner.”

In response, Shulkin stressed that the agency is taking the modernization very seriously.

“We have to make sure that we can be interoperable with dozens of different health systems out there,” said Shulkin. “And that’s a challenge that frankly the American healthcare system hasn’t figured out yet… We think VA can help lead this for the whole country by making this interoperable.”

Shulkin recognized the agency’s track record of failed IT projects – the Government Accountability Office recently reported that the VA likely wasted at least $1.1 billion on multiple EHR modernization attempts – and understands that this EHR replacement must work.

Given the size and scope of the project – there are more than 130 versions of VistA operating right now – Shulkin said the legacy system will need to be maintained over a 10-year implementation period.

To account for that, Shulkin is requesting Congress provide the VA a separate account to fund the project. The account would provide the VA with the necessary funds for maintaining VistA and implementing the Cerner EHR, and would provide transparency to where those funds are going.

The VA is expected to sign the Cerner contract in the next few weeks, after the vendor reportedly passed its independent assessment.

Source: House balks at $10 billion price tag for VA-Cerner EHR project | Healthcare IT News