Health IT Roundup—Lawmaker calls VA EHR leadership 'rudderless'; Partners HealthCare teams up with Teladoc

Veterans affairs sign
One lawmaker has taken notice of turnover on the VA's EHR project. (JeffOnWire/CC BY 2.0)

Lawmaker worried 'rudderless' VA leadership impacting EHR project

A top lawmaker tasked with overseeing the Department of Veterans Affairs EHR effort is calling out the agency's "deteriorating and rudderless" leadership in the wake of two key departures.

Last week, Genevieve Morris announced her resignation as the agency's lead for the EHR project just six weeks after she was appointed to the position. Chief Medical Officer Ashwini Zenooz announced she will leave her post next week.

Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., who chairs the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Technology Modernization, asked Secretary Robert Wilkie for an organizational chart of the Office of EHR Modernization by Sept. 7.

“It would be a tragedy for the program to be undermined by personality conflicts and bureaucratic power struggles before it even begins in earnest,” Banks wrote. (Stars and Stripes)

Partners HealthCare teams up with Teladoc

Partnes HealthCare and Teladoc Health have launched a new partnership to provide urgent care visits to commercial members of the Partners' health plan.

Members will be able to access clinicians from the health system to treat minor injuries and ailments, according to an announcement.

"Partners HealthCare has long been committed to a patient-centric care delivery approach, and our telehealth strategy will help to improve patient access to care, and empower individuals to be more engaged with their health," Joseph C. Kvedar, M.D., vice president, Connected Health, Partners HealthCare, said in a statement. "Moving forward, this will be a big part of our care delivery strategy and we expect usage to increase in the future." (Release)

New study shows doctors aren't retiring because of EHRs

A soon-to-be published study from researchers at Notre Dame refutes a long-held belief that EHRs are largely to blame for forcing doctors to retire.

Basic EHRs, the study shows, have actually lengthened the tenure of doctors at hospitals and advanced EHRs cause physicians to move to other hospitals. But the researchers found no evidence that any doctors have retired because of a new EHR.

"Results suggest that when EHRs create benefits for doctors, such as reducing their workloads or preventing costly errors, their duration of practice increases significantly," Corey Angst, professor of IT, Analytics and Operations in Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, said in a statement. "However, when technologies force doctors to change their routines, there is an obvious exodus, though it’s more pronounced with older doctors, especially specialists, and those who have been disrupted in the past by IT implementations.” (Release)