VA launches EHR training program

The Department of Veterans Affairs. (Tajha Chappellet-Lanier)

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The Department of Veterans Affairs has created a training program to educate medical providers who will be the first users of its forthcoming electronic health record modernization program.

Called VITAL, short for VA Innovative Technology Advancement Lab, the program will provide training to selected end-users who will provide feedback to fuel the continuous improvement of VA’s new EHR that is being built on Cerner technology.

As of Sept. 12, the VA has selected 76 trainees to join the 12-to-18-month program.

“VA established VITAL to specially train staff who can identify possible challenges and work across the entire VA organization to make improvements,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a release. “VITAL is an important component in our larger training strategy, which will help ensure efficient and timely user adoption of the modernized EHR system.”

The program is a direct response to lessons the Department of Defense learned in its transition to a new modernized EHR, MHS GENESIS, which is also a Cerner-based platform. “Observation of DoD’s GENESIS program has prompted VA to identify key clinical and frontline staff who require advanced training to ensure smooth EHRM implementation, enhance functionality and support continuous performance improvement,” says a fact sheet on VITAL.

“VITAL was designed to increase EHRM adoption and speed-to-value, promote standardization and optimize the use of advanced analytics,” the fact sheet says.

VITAL isn’t the only training program for VA‘s modernized EHR. There are also programs to train basic end-users, “super users” who require advanced training to help train other users and users who require specialty training before the EHR goes live, beginning at facilities in the Pacific Northwest in 2020.

After users graduate the VITAL program, they will go on to serve as “change agents” at their facilities “who can capitalize on and advance the capabilities and value of EHRM’s transformational innovation. This will naturally help to promote the smoothest possible transition for all users and, in turn, patients,” the fact sheet says.

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Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Veterans Affairs, electronic health records (EHRs), health care, Robert Wilkie
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