The Veterans Health Administration, which was recently called out by the Government Accountability Office for insufficient oversight and accountability, information technology woes and other ills, now has an opportunity to improve veterans' care through the use of a number of digital tools.
Technology will be woven throughout the conversations at this year's 2017 VA Healthcare conference, set for May 15-18 in Arlington, Va. Former and current VHA administrators, other healthcare leaders related to the VA and attendees will discuss telehealth, traumatic brain injury treatment and electronic health records, among other topics.
The VA currently uses its own EHR system, VistA, which the agency has struggled to modernize. VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin last month said a decision to replace VistA, which is used in 1,200 VHA sites, could come by July. Regardless, change of some sort to the EHR is all but guaranteed, with a final decision to come about whether that change will arrive in the VA's own, home-grown system or in a commercial EHR made by a vendor like Epic Systems Corp. or Cerner Corp.
Speakers at this year's VA Healthcare conference include Joseph Ronzio, deputy chief health technology officer at the VA, and Scott Blackburn, interim deputy VA secretary. Blackburn will deliver a keynote, "The Future of Healthcare Delivery to Our Nation's Veterans," on the first day of the conference, which is run by the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement.