Sunday, June 16, 2024

Oracle $16B Veterans Affairs health software shows poor performance in survey – report

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The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said that Oracle’s (NYSE:ORCL) software is failing at its main task of helping improve patient care, Bloomberg News reported, citing previously unpublished internal survey data.

The VA has been renegotiating its $16B contract with Oracle due to poor performance of the system and employee feedback. The department is the company’s top public client in its health unit, which includes Cerner, the electronic medical records provider acquired for $28B in 2022, the report added.

Fewer than 1 in 5 doctors, nurses and other VA health staff said Oracle’s product enables them to provide “high-quality care” as per the survey, which is part of an internal report from the VA.

“There is a trend toward improvement, however most users still indicate a negative experience,” VA researchers wrote in the report seen by the news agency.

Oracle’s acquisition of Cerner came with the contract to replace the electronic health records system, or EHR, at the VA’s 172 facilities. For hospitals, the software helps doctors and nurses in clinical tasks such as note-taking in patient visits or writing prescriptions, but is also a big expense.

However, the work to implement the software has seen controversy — after outages and patient deaths at a some hospitals, where the new software was installed, the rollout was paused by the government.

The VA’s internal survey, carried out in March and April, is part of an ongoing review of the company’s performance which the department has undertaken for over a year with a consultant. It was prepared for the department’s leadership and members of Congress who have been critical of the contract, the report added.

The survey of about 2000 people, which undertaken by consulting service provider KLAS, indicated that only 30% of the software’s users at U.S. Department of Defense medical centers, which have used Cerner’s system for years and are often touted as a success by Oracle, say it enables “high-quality care.” About nearly, under half of the health care staff surveyed at average U.S. health facilities using Oracle’s EHR software appreciated the system, as per the report.

KLAS recommended providing specific trainings to clinicians on the new Oracle software and setting up a communication plan. About 22% of VA respondents noted their training on the new software was helpful, while around 45% said they had received communication about why the VA was moving to the new EHR.

In a May blog post, Ken Glueck, Oracle’s executive vice president, stated that since taking over the VA contract, the company has “made thousands of improvements to enhance the performance, reliability, and usability of the system.”

In addition, Glueck said that the “technology being deployed at the VA is the same technology helping doctors and nurses provide reliable, quality care at all 3,890 DoD locations — the largest EHR implementation in the world,” according to the report.

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