News: VA EHR pilot increases burnout, worsens morale, survey shows

CDI Strategies - Volume 15, Issue 50

As the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) continues its long-term project of implementing a new EHR across all sites, members of Congress raised concerns about patient safety with the implementation during a House Veterans Affairs Technology Modernization Subcommittee hearing.

After issues with the pilot site in Spokane, Washington, members of Congress said they fear the VA is moving to the next stage of site implementation too soon without addressing patient safety and training concerns found at the pilot site.

Only 16% of employees involved in the EHR implementation felt confident with the system, according to a survey conducted by the VA at the pilot site. An additional 22% said they were neutral, and 62% said they did not feel confident in their ability to use the system. Additionally, 83% of respondents said morale worsened since the implementation, 81% said their level of burnout increased, and 63% said the EHR deployment made them reconsider continued work for the VA.

Since the new EHR went live at the Washington pilot site, 829 patient safety tickets have been submitted by employees, including 576 directly related to patient safety due to the EHR system.

In response, the VA Technology Modernization Subcommittee announced it is creating a new position to oversee daily decision-making related to the project. The VA is also considering hiring a new deputy chief information officer to be solely responsible for the EHR modernization.

Editor’s note: A video of the House of Veterans Affairs Technology Modernization Subcommittee hearing can be found here. Other ACDIS coverage of the VA EHR implementation project can be found here.

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