Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., wrote a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) urging it to address an issue with its Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM) program that requires a double-entry process for pharmacists to prescribe medication to veterans.

Rosendale, the ranking member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Technology Modernization, explained that the EHRM program, which runs on the Cerner Millennium system, lacks an interface between the electronic health record, PowerChart, and its pharmacy module, Medication Manager Retail (MMR).

“Until a true bidirectional interface is put in place, pharmacists at the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center, the Jonathan M. Wainwright VA Medical Center, and any subsequent sites will struggle with a needlessly complicated, time-consuming, error-prone, double-entry process to prescribe medication that saps productivity and puts veterans at risk,” Rosendale wrote in the April 8 letter.

“This is the single greatest technical problem with the Cerner EHR, and it has created, directly or indirectly, more patient safety incident reports than any other factor,” he added.

The VA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a trio of reports in March detailing the patient care issues stemming from the EHR transition, including deficiencies in the medication management system.

“Although the OIG did not identify any associated patient deaths during this inspection, deployment of the new EHR without resolution of deficiencies may present risks to patient safety and affect providers’ treatment decisions,” one report said.

Rosendale called on VA to issue contractual direction to Cerner to resolve the interface issue. He also noted that “such a project to write and test EHR code would typically take Cerner roughly two years,” and said the project “must be accelerated.”

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.