by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | August 11, 2022
A four-hour shutdown of the Oracle-Cerner EHR system prevented the Veterans Administration, Department of Defense and U.S. Coast Guard sites from accessing patient databases.
The outage was initiated on August 4 following the discovery of a database corrupted by an error that posed major harm to VA patients. The system was taken offline at noon ET and restored a little after 4 p.m. ET, with the database recovered, reported FedScoop
No data corruption or data loss occurred. “During downtime of the EHR, medical personnel could still care for patients, but documentation occurred on paper,” VA spokesperson Terrence Hayes told FedScoop.
The system was down for a total of four hours and 16 minutes. Had the issue not been found, information for different patients could have been found and accessed in the files of others, according to an anonymous source familiar with the matter.
“It meant that something is programmed incorrectly,” they told FedScoop. “It could mean bad data. In this case, it means they needed to rebuild the indexes (how the system knows where the patient data is in different files).”
Since its launch in 2020, the system has experienced 50 outages
and several issues around care coordination, ticketing and medication management; as well as funding, IT, and infrastructure challenges, that have delayed its deployment.
Because of these problems, the estimated completion of its rollout has been delayed
by at least one to two years.
In one incident, 11,000 unfilled requests harmed at least 149 patients
at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, Washington, including a homeless veteran who called the VA’s crisis line with the intention to commit suicide but was saved by first responders.
In a June hearing, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee called the system a “total mess” and criticized VA Secretary Denis McDonough for its failures.
Oracle acquired Cerner for $28.3 billion
in June and renamed its EHR business, Oracle Health
It plans to modernize the Millennium EHR platform
with voice interface, telehealth capabilities and disease specific-AI models and move them into its Gen2 Cloud platform. This will help providers with treatment decisions and reduce IT infrastructure costs. Back to HCB News