GAO Reviews VA EHR Data Migration Initiative

The Government Accountability Office has noted problems with the quality of electronic health data migrated to the new Department of Veterans Affairs records system which could pose risks to patient safety and compromise the accuracy, timeliness and accessibility of information.

The GAO said in a report released Tuesday that VA had moved health data from its legacy systems to Cerner’s New Electronic Health Records System as part of its EHR modernization program, but patient safety risks were identified during the initial rollout of the new system due to incomplete data migration.

The challenges were partly due to the inability to establish performance measures and targets for the quality of migrated data.

“Until VA uses these metrics and targets 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” , says the report.

Additionally, VA began to maintain reporting capabilities and provide new ones from the new system without identifying or involving all key stakeholders.

The Congressional watchdog recommended that VA establish performance metrics and targets to ensure data quality and use a stakeholder registry to improve identification and engagement of all relevant stakeholders.

Sean N. Ayres