With Tanya Bradsher’s recent confirmation as the Department of Veterans Affairs’ deputy secretary, she will begin a listening tour to assess the status of the agency’s electronic health record and its future implementation plan at additional sites.
“Right now, with the reset, we are taking a hard look. We're working with our clinicians and making sure that we are up and running," Bradsher said during a recent press briefing. “This is a wonderful opportunity for me to learn from our clinicians and to bring back not just what I'm being told sitting in meetings and on Teams, but to actually see it on the ground, see how it's working, see if it's up.”
Bradsher, a veteran herself, assumed the role in September 2023. Her appointment follows her service as the VA’s chief of staff. As deputy secretary, one of her primary areas of responsibilities will be to oversee the Oracle-Cerner EHR system, the rollout for which was halted in April with plans to resume implementation in 2024.
The five centers that currently employ the system will continue their modernization, but the rest of the deployments won’t begin until Bradsher takes an in-person look at how they are performing, she said.
The next EHR deployment was initially scheduled for March 2024 at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago, Illinois.
Bradsher said the listening tour will be just a piece of the puzzle when it comes to reinstating modernization and that a further determination will need to be made about when EHR modernization can restart.
“It's part of a data point that will help guide me, but it's not going to be and it's not a decision for me. It's a decision for all of us to determine when reset is over and when we're ready to move forward,” Bradsher said.
Beyond EHR modernization, Bradsher noted some of her other priorities in the coming months will include working through her transition with the joint executive committee and informing underrepresented veterans such as untethered veterans, rural veterans, women and minority veterans about the services that the VA has to offer them.