VA rolls out new patient-appointment tool, as part of EHR modernization transformation

Sept. 8, 2020

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released the launch of its new appointment scheduling tool at the VA Central Ohio Healthcare System to make medical visits more efficient for care providers and veterans. 

A critical component of the VA’s Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM) effort, the Centralized Scheduling Solution (CSS) will be implemented at all VA health facilities to expedite patient-care coordination throughout the department. 

“VA has delivered an enhanced scheduling system that will benefit Veterans and healthcare providers,” said Acting VA Deputy Secretary Pamela Powers, who has oversight of VA’s EHRM program. “This is another successful launch of a major milestone in the EHRM effort and will optimize Veterans’ access to healthcare by improving appointment scheduling. CSS also provides an efficient and transparent method of identifying and eliminating double bookings, flagging canceled appointments and maximizing provider time spent with patients.” 

The VA’s current scheduling solutions require VA staff to log in to multiple software applications to coordinate calendars, clinicians, rooms and equipment. This process requires time-intensive manual data entry and workarounds to finalize appointments. CSS will address these challenges by providing an “all-in-one” appointment management solution that offers scheduling by resource (e.g., clinician, room, equipment), simple color-coded time slots and a single view for coordinating schedules across multiple locations. 

Through EHRM, VA will move from using its existing electronic health record (EHR) system, the software that stores patient information and tracks all aspects of Veteran care, to a new EHR solution that is interoperable with the Department of Defense (DOD) system. Initial EHR rollout at VA sites will start in fall 2020. Upon full implementation at all sites, the new EHR will unify all VA healthcare facilities into one system linked with DOD. This modernization effort will create a comprehensive health record to help provide seamless care for service members and veterans.  

VA has the release