Health Care Modernization on Track, Acquisition Chief Says
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 26, 2014 A multi-billion dollar acquisition to modernize DoD’s Electronic Health Record (EHR) and improve interoperability of healthcare information between the Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs is on track, the Program Executive Officer for the Defense Healthcare Management Systems Modernization and Integrated Electronic Health Records program said today.
Christopher A. Miller told reporters that efforts to modernize DOD EHR are moving forward.
Miller, a former Marine intelligence officer, has been in charge of the high-profile acquisition for nine months. The acquisition strategy that is in place looks to having initial operating capability in 2016.
A large part of the program is to create a seamless process of healthcare information sharing among DOD, VA and private health care providers so service members will not need to tote paper records from one healthcare provider to another. VA health care officials would be able to access DOD health information.
The goal is all the more difficult, Miller said because there is no population like DOD’s.
“There are almost 10 million beneficiaries in thousands of locations from ships and subs to forward operating bases to major stateside facilities,” he said.
Miller’s organization is finalizing the draft request for procurement for an EHR. There have been three draft requests for proposals, he said, and the final RFP is set for release later this fiscal year (3rd Quarter FY 14).
“Next year we will work the source selection and start the deployment in fiscal 2016,” Miller said. “Initial operating capability will be in the Pacific Northwest.”
Miller emphasized this is not only a large expenditure, but also a transformation.
“A key part of this is going to be the technology and the system we buy, but also we make sure we buy the training and change management that really make a program like this successful,” he said. “The technology is just an enabler, and we want to make sure that this program is successful and we have to address all requirements of the acquisition.”
The government is working to make the process open and transparent, said Miller, noting his group has hosted four industry day meetings on the procurement.
Miller has visited a number of health care providers to see how they do business including Kaiser Permanente and Hospital Corporation of America.
“We want to learn from them,” Miller said. “We’re not exactly like them in the commercial side, but there are some similarities.”
Miller also visited Britain and met with the National Health Service on their efforts to acquire and modernize EHR systems in their national health system. .
He mused: What will success look like?
“Our primary users are clinicians and we want to give them a modern system that helps them make decisions and gives them access to all the information they need,” Miller said. “We also want to make sure that we are buying a modern system that can evolve and adapt as things change. We don’t want to pick Beta in the Beta-VHS War. The commercial health IT market is a robust and growing industry and we want to make sure we leverage that so our folks can make their lives better.”
(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @garamoneAFPS)