back to article US Veterans Affairs hits brakes on $10b Oracle Cerner health record system

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) this week announced it is delaying pending deployments of the Oracle Cerner electronic health record (EHR) system until June 2023 because of ongoing problems with the system. "Right now, the Oracle Cerner electronic health record system is not delivering for Veterans or VA health care …

  1. Dave 13

    Uncle Larry sues everybody, eventually...

    Has Uncle Larry sued the VA yet? He will. That's his business model.

    1. b0llchit Silver badge

      Re: Uncle Larry sues everybody, eventually...

      Not yet... But the support definitely depends on the amount of superfluous licences you ordered. Apparently, the VA has not enough of them and the system is therefore predictably rerouting information to places where they will await a license.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Uncle Larry sues everybody, eventually...

      Oracle would be a very secure place for veterans records. Nobody, not even the VA, will be able to access them.

  2. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    I wonder what happened to their previous system?

    I wonder what happened to their previous system? -- VistA an open-source EHR developed by the VA and widely deployed. From my understanding, this system already was and is fully functional, maintainable, and upgradeable. I recall reading about a VA effort years back to get some kind of data interchange standard between the medical record vendors, this ultimately failed (this market has about the highest level of vendor lockin I've seen anywhere and that's how they like it), so VistA then gained support to import/export from/to a slew of systems so they can interchange with other hospitals.

    Edit: Oh dear. never mind. It's written in MUMPS (EPIC's EHR is also written in MUMPS), so really it is more like a healthcare equivalent of having something that works but it's written in like FORTRAN 66 or COBOL, I suppose I could see wanting to modernize things at that point.

    1. Scene it all

      Re: I wonder what happened to their previous system?

      A lot of medical systems used to be written in MUMPS. The language was even invented at a hospital. I always thought that its built-in key-value data store was the coolest part. A person at a contract support agency once told me that having MUMPS on your resume could get you jobs because of all the legacy systems written in it and people do not bother learning it any more.

      1. James Anderson

        Re: I wonder what happened to their previous system?

        Wonderful database. Like an infinitely recursive Perl hash of hashes.

        But a godawful language lots of single character operators plus goths.

        You can get a Java wrapper so you only have to deal with the get set and commit operators.

        Incidentally it is widely used by Dutch banking group ING. Their core banking system is resold by FIS under the Profile brand and it’s the fastest most flexible core banking product you will ever come accross.

        1. Scene it all

          Re: I wonder what happened to their previous system?

          One of the developers of the Digital Standard Mumps software for the VAX line of computers told me that the reason MUMPS could not use hardware floating point for numbers was its use in the banking industry. It had to be able to represent large values with a lot of significant digits with no rounding or "just off a little bit" effects like 1.9999999 when you meant 2.0. So they had to invent their own internal number format.

          You didn't HAVE to use those one-character names. That was a holdover from when MUMPS was strictly an interpreted text language running on small hardware. Modern MUMPS systems compile into an intermediate form.

  3. JSIM

    "Oracle did not respond to a request for comment on Friday."

    The request went into the Unknown Queue.

  4. Missing Semicolon Silver badge


    Isn't Cerner on the hook for paying damages to the injured and relatives of the deceased?

  5. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    How many veterans?

    $50 Bn seems rather a lot divided by a few million veterans.

    Has anyone told them that you don't need an Oracle license per record (or do you ?)

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