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Frequently Asked Questions

Over the next several years, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will transition to a new electronic health record (EHR), which is the system used by health care providers to store and track patient data. This transition will begin in spring 2020 at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, Washington. As VA shifts to the new EHR, here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the new system.

What is an electronic health record?

An EHR provides a digital version of a patient’s health record. VA was one of the first health care systems to implement an EHR and continues to be a leader in this area.

What is the Electronic Health Record Modernization program?

VA’s Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM) program is an effort to unite VA and the Department of Defense (DoD) on a single, common and commercial EHR system. Cerner Corp. was selected as the EHR vendor. EHRM will replace VA’s current EHR solution, the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA).

What does EHRM mean for Veterans?

Modernizing VA’s EHR is expected to improve the department’s ability to deliver care to Veterans and enhance the patient and provider experience across all facilities. It will also improve the sharing of health data between VA, DoD and community providers.

Will VA and DoD share a Veteran’s record?

Yes. VA and DoD will share health records in the new system. A shared system means patient information entered into the record from different doctors, pharmacies, labs and other points of care will be stored in the same place and in a format that is quickly and easily accessible by all providers. This will eliminate the need for manual transfer of records when Veterans transition from active duty.

Protecting Veteran health information is a top priority for VA. Cerner and VA established a secure process between VistA and the Cerner data center, which is compliant with national cybersecurity standards to ensure Veteran health information is protected.

What precautions were taken to ensure VA kept Veteran data secure during data migration?

Protecting Veteran health information has always been a top priority for VA. During the process of migrating Veterans’ data into the new EHR system, VA and Cerner used state-of-the-art and federally compliant safety measures, and VA personnel maintained constant supervision of the data throughout.

When will EHRM impact me? 

The new EHR will be installed at VA facilities nationwide starting in 2020 and is anticipated to continue until 2028. VA Puget Sound Health Care System and Mann-Grandstaff VAMC in the Pacific Northwest will be the first sites to receive the system. Mann-Grandstaff VAMC is anticipated to deploy the EHR — or “go live” — in March 2020, followed by Puget Sound in fall 2020. For more information on timeline, check back to this page often.

Page last updated on February 11, 2020