VA Taking Steps to Migrate Data to New EHR System

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is continuing with its electronic health record (EHR) modernization effort, and a notice posted today on FedBizOpps shows that VA is preparing to migrate data from its existing VistA system to its new commercial platform.

The notice – a justification and approval notice for acquiring HPE Synergy frames – details that the limited competition in VA’s acquisition is supporting the effort to extract data from each of the instances of VistA at each VA medical center (VAMC) and move into the new commercial platform from Cerner.

“Extraction of the data from all 130 VAMCs requires intensive computing power to drive the acquisition of data and insertion of that data into databases in preparation for delivery to Cerner’s HealtheIntent platform,” the notice states. “The risk of an in-place upgrade is high, so VA requires these compute modules and frames to mimic the current environment, in order to test ahead of the upgrade and reduce cutover downtime.”

Under VistA, VA has 131 different instances of the software that need to be mapped and migrated to the Cerner platform. With at least 22 instances already mapped, migration to the platform is “one of the heavy lifts,” said John Windom, director of VA’s Office of EHR Modernization in March. The first pilot for the program is set for March 2020.

As part of the acquisition, VA determined that it was restricted to HPE servers due to the existing infrastructure at the Austin Information Technology Center and the need for interoperable servers. The servers will support a test environment and additional computing power.

“The Cerner data migration effort will require increased computing resources to process massive amounts of data, and VA needs to enhance its network and infrastructure to meet this demand,” the notice states.

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