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VA Invests in Clinical Decision Support Tool Standardization

A $22 million initiative to optimize a VA clinical decision support tool standardization marks another effort by the federal agency to improve the interoperability and efficiency of its health IT.

Clinical Decision Support

Source: Thinkstock.

By Kate Monica

- In an effort to promote interoperability, efficiency, and safety of patient care, VA has chosen two vendors to improve and standardize its clinical decision support: Cognitive Medical Systems and Motive Medical Intelligence.

The two vendors will lend their expertise in standards-based clinical decision support software and health IT infrastructure, as well as evidence-based clinical workflows. 

Through a one-year agreement with help from prime contractor B3 Group, the two clinical decision support vendors will aid VA’s Office of Knowledge Based Systems (KBS) in integrating the technology into EHR systems.

VA intends to give clinicians access to the right information at the right time to improve patient health outcomes with improved clinical decision support.

 “We’re excited for the opportunity to assist B3 Group and the VA transform healthcare through the use of technology innovation, open systems and open standards,” said Cognitive Medical Systems President and Co-founder Doug Burke. “We couldn’t think of a more important organization to do this in the service of our military veterans. We’re honored to be a part of it.”

VA’s KBS aims to optimize patient care through the implementation of clinical decision support tools in existing EHR technology and health IT.

These clinical decision support tools and improved clinical workflows will provide clinicians with timely, efficient guidance on how to deliver the highest quality care.

Clinical decision support includes computerized notifications, clinical guidelines, order sets, patient data reports, dashboards, clinical documentation templates, diagnostic support, and workflow tools.

 “This initiative contributes to the development of an adaptive clinical learning system within the VA and serves as a model for the industry,” said Motive Medical Intelligence CEO Jeanne Cohen.

While the Veterans Health Administration currently has some clinical decision support tools embedded into its EHR, a lack of standardization restricts this information from being truly interoperable. Without standardized, sharable clinical decision support, VA has often been forced to recreate similar clinical decision support for each disparate EHR system.

The one-year initiative will hopefully work toward eliminating the costly, redundant task of recreating clinical decision support for different systems and save providers and health IT experts time and money.

“This contract will help to move the VA and the entire healthcare community towards standardization of clinical content and interoperable systems, thereby reducing costs for payers and increasing healthcare outcomes for patients” said B3 Group Founder and COO Brad Palmer.

With two vendors selected to spearhead clinical decision support for VA health IT, the federal agency furthers its goal to optimize its technology and improve veteran healthcare.

While VA still has not officially chosen a vendor to supply its commercial EHR, a recent Black Book survey named Cerner as the best-suited EHR vendor for the job.

Black Book assessed the aptitude of five commercial EHR vendors to meet four of the Trump Administration’s initiatives, rating each vendor’s system on a standard point scale.

Pitted against the likes of Epic, athenahealth, MEDITECH, and Allscripts, Cerner consistently scored the highest across all four initiatives.

Additionally, VA recently awarded innovation leader Leidos a $29 million task order contract funding a year of work toward modernizing VA health IT infrastructure.

With help from Leidos, the VA intends to improve support, development, maintenance, and implementation planning for its existing and developing technologies.

These initiatives and investments signal VA’s commitment to solving issues with health data exchange and interoperability that have plagued the agency in the past. 

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