VA ready to consolidate EHR data centers

The move to consolidate the electronic health records systems for the military just took another step forward, with the announcement that the Department of Veterans Affairs will begin transitioning the data centers that support its Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Articulation (VistA) EHR into data centers run by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) beginning in March.

VA CIO Roger Baker told Nextgov that the move helps support the development of a joint EHR system, making it the largest in the world, covering 15.7 million people. The move is expected to take a year to complete.

Baker also noted that each of the VA's 152 hospitals will have one to six servers to host VistA in the DISA data centers and that the data centers will have backup systems.

This consolidation is within the timelines projected by the VA. In its September 2011 Data Center Consolidation Plan and Progress Report, the VA acknowledged that VistA's current operations were non-standardized and disconnected, and that its goals was to eventually consolidate operations into four Department of Defense data centers. The consolidation is meant to reduce costs, improve efficiencies and maximize sustainability.   

The report also stated that VA expected the transition of VistA to DISA data centers in 2012 will free up space in at least 80 VA medical centers computer rooms for repurposing, resulting in a "greatly reduced" operational IT footprint.

To learn more:
- read the Nextgov article
- here's the progress report 

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