Veteran Affairs Signs Epic Scheduling
28th July, 2017
The election of our new President, Donald Trump, has greatly impacted the day-to-day life at work for my team and I.
Once-sidelined plans for the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to contract with Epic to support their Medical Appointment Scheduling System (MASS) were placed back on the table in February 2017 when the new Secretary of the VA, David Shulkin, was confirmed into office. Shulkin determined he wanted to use an “off-the-shelf” commercial vendor to support the VA’s scheduling needs.
On June 5, 2017, in light of the Trump Administration’s Infrastructure Week Shulkin announced plans to use Cerner‘s Millenium product to manage the electronic medical records of U.S. veterans, a decision aimed at making it easier to share medical records with the Department of Defense who also awarded Cerner a $4.3 billion dollar contract for the use of Millenium.
The VA’s decision to continue to move forward with Epic’s scheduling system (Cadence) despite hosting veterans’ medical records on a separate system is an important indicator of their trust and respect for the power of Epic’s scheduling tools. Within Epic, one of the big initiatives we had as a part of working with the VA was to support accessible scheduling workflows for disabled veterans who may not be able to interact with a computer with the traditional keyboard & mouse. We are working with Nuance Communications to develop a voice-operated virtual assistant to allow veterans to schedule appointments via voice commands.
Appointment scheduling continues to be a hot button topic at the Department of Veteran Affairs nearly three years after the wait-time crisis in Phoenix, Arizona hit the national headlines when it was reported that more than forty veterans died while waiting for healthcare.
The Epic contract is reportedly valued at approximately $624 million dollars with the pilot site being Columbus, Ohio.