GAO to review DoD Cerner EHR implementation status

In an amendment tucked into the Senate appropriations bill passed on Aug. 23, the Government Accountability Office will be required to conduct its own review of the Department of Defense MHS Genesis rollout.

The DoD has been in a planned holding pattern for several months while it addresses technical concerns at its four test sites in the Pacific Northwest. Several reports have outlined serious concerns about the platform, with one government assessment deeming parts of the platform operationally unsuitable.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, questioned the DoD’s current process in April, outlining the “significant morale impact” the project has had on the practitioners in her data that may be “putting patient lives at risk.”

DoD officials have consistently stressed that the assessment stage was planned and that there’s an obvious learning curve to the rollout. But the mandated GAO audit will once again put the Cerner EHR under a microscope.

According the amendment, GAO will be looking for what actions DoD has taken to improve the sight since the initial report and how the system is meeting the healthcare demands at those pilot sites. GAO will also look into any anticipated delays and the performance at those four pilot sites.

Officials will also determine any underlying issues that could impact future deployments and whether the agency will be able to meet its timeline to deploy the new EHR worldwide by 2022.

The results of the report could be telling, as the Department of Veterans Affairs intends to rollout its own Cerner EHR to model the platform at DoD — under the same timeline. VA predicts that its test sites will go live in 2020.

The amendment was passed in the Senate funding bill for the DoD and Department of Health and Human Services and the Labor and Education department. The bill will still need to be reconciled with the House bill, but GAO will need to report on the DoD platform within six months if passed.

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