GAO: Health IT Deficiencies Hampering Quality, Safety of VA Care
May 1, 2015 in News
Various health IT deficiencies are hampering the Department of Veterans Affairs’ ability to ensure the quality and safety of health care services for veterans, according to a new report released by the Government Accountability Office, EHR Intelligence reports.
Details of Report
In the report, GAO said VA has failed to update its 30-year-old outpatient appointment scheduling system, which does not allow VA staffers to view multiple screens simultaneously and often requires several keystrokes to complete tasks.
According to the report, VA began attempts to replace the system in 2000 but halted the efforts because of oversight and project management deficiencies.
Meanwhile, GAO identified several other health IT challenges, including that:
- VA lacks the ability to quickly and efficiently share data with non-VA providers;
- VA’s electronic health record system is not conducive to effective health data exchange when members of the military switch from the Department of Defense’s medical system to the VA system;
- Data sharing and other interoperability issues caused VA to stop developing an IT system to allow surgical implant data to be electronically stored and accessed, preventing such data from being used to bolster patient safety; and
- VA has postponed its objective of increasing interoperability in its EHR system on multiple occasions, and the lack of interoperability increases health risks and affects the timeliness of treatments.
In addition, GAO said it was crucial for VA to implement effective measures to protect patient data from potential cyberattacks (Gruessner, EHR Intelligence, 4/30).