The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has completed the migration of its existing records in the VistA system into the data center of its electronic health record (EHR) vendor Cerner, notching a key milestone for the EHR modernization effort.

In a press release today, VA said it has moved the records of 23.5 million veterans into Cerner’s data center, and the records are set to be processed and prepared for Cerner’s EHR solution. In total, VA moved 78 billion records across 21 clinical areas, totaling 50 terabytes of data.

“No Veteran, family member or caregiver should have to carry boxes of paper, medical and service records around. This data migration is the first step to solving that problem for good,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie.

Members of Congress have been looking forward to the data move, noting that it represents one of the major technical challenges of the project.

“The only thing that is preventing us from using the Cerner platform is getting the old data into a format that Cerner can view – would that be an accurate way to articulate the problem?” asked Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, in a March hearing.

“I would say that’s one of the heavy lifts,” replied John Windom, executive director of VA’s Office of EHR Modernization.

In a congressional hearing last week, VA officials noted that for initial operating capability, the department plans to start with 10 of the clinical areas, expanding to 18 within a few months.

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MeriTalk Staff