Changes to information technology systems in healthcare facilities are rarely straightforward or completely smooth, and when the system in question serves the nation’s largest healthcare network, the likelihood of problems grows exponentially.
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs' rollout of its new electronic health record (EHR) transferred data to the new system, but the results failed to meet the needs of VA physicians, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
GAO’s audit was conducted from August 2019 to February 2022 and explored the challenges physicians faced trying to access patient data, a process complicated because the VA failed to monitor data accessibility, accuracy and appropriateness during the data migration.
“VA has made progress toward implementing its planned data management activities,” according to the GAO report. "Although these efforts included testing intended to help ensure migrated data were accurate and matched expected results, VA’s analyses and GAO’s work indicated that clinicians experienced challenges with the quality of migrated data, including their accessibility, accuracy, and appropriateness.
“For example, a VA report issued after the initial deployment identified risks to patient safety in the new system related to incomplete data migration. The challenges occurred, in part, because the department did not 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."