Congressman Asks Cerner, VA to Fix Pharma Module Interface Problems

Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., Friday called on the Department of Veterans Affairs and Cerner management to implement a “true” two-way interface between Cerner’s electronic health record and its pharmacy module.

Calling it “the biggest technical issue with the Cerner EHR,” Rosendale urged the VA to issue the EHR vendor’s contractual direction to resolve the issue.

“Pharmacists at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center, Jonathan M. Wainwright VA Medical Center, and all subsequent sites will struggle with an unnecessarily complicated, time-consuming, error-prone, and double-entry process for prescribing drugs that undermine the productivity and put veterans at risk,” Rosendale said.

As a top member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Technology Modernization, Rosendale addressed the letter to VA Assistant Secretary Donald Remy and President of the Services. government officials from Cerner, Travis Dalton, FCW reported.

Identify completed Health Informatics News to VA in response to requests for comment. VA did not respond to requests for comment before press time.


According to Rosendale, the problem lies in the interface between PowerChart and Cerner’s pharmacy module, Medication Manager Retail.

Although Rosendale didn’t include details about the issues users allegedly encountered — and didn’t respond to follow-up requests for more details — the Office of Inspector General flagged medication management as making the most of it. subject of several complaints from Mann-Grandstaff staff in a report published this past month.

These complaints included concerns about data migration, medication orders, and medication reconciliation.

This report spanned January 2021 through June 2021. At the time of publication, Dr. Terry Adirim, Executive Director of the VA Electronic Health Records Modernization Office Integration Program, say it Washington Post that the agency has made “a substantial number of changes”.

Rosendale, for his part, said that although the EHR Modernization Integration Office identified the interface as a priority at least two months ago, “it appears no action has been taken.” .

“My understanding is that such a project of writing and testing EHR code would typically take Cerner about two years to complete,” Rosendale said. “It needs to be accelerated.”


Just days before Rosendale wrote his letter, dozens of federal sites using Cerner’s EHR system went down, resulting in nearly three hours that clinicians were unable to update information. medical.

“Federal customers of the new Cerner electronic health record system (VA, Department of Defense and US Coast Guard) experienced a system outage from 4:09 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. CT on April 6, 2022,” VA representatives said. Health Informatics News.

“The system was not accessible to end users during this period and the sites entered unavailability procedures, [including] switch to paper mapping until the system is turned back on,” they continued. The incident followed an outage in early March that may have affected the records of more than 200 veterans.


“I encourage you to defer any potential litigation over financial responsibility in order to continue the work,” Rosendale said in her letter. “The electronic health record modernization program is already dangerously behind schedule in solving this problem, and knowingly spreading it to pharmacies in other medical centers would be irresponsible.”

Kat Jercich is editor of Healthcare IT News.
Twitter: @kjercich
E-mail: [email protected]
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.