Biggest Health IT Opportunities Ever – Coming Soon

Lloyd McCoy_65x85by Lloyd McCoy Jr., Consultant

Last week more than 1,400 government officials and industry representatives from the health IT community met in Orlando for the Defense Health IT Symposium.  This conference allowed senior government stakeholders to give updates on some of the major initiatives within DHA and the Military Health System (MHS).  Altogether over $50 billion a year is spent on DOD healthcare with about $2 billion that DHA allocates to IT.

Here are a few of the key upcoming priorities IT products manufacturers selling into the DHA and other entities within MHS should know about:

  • New Electronic Health Record

The new electronic health record or DOD Healthcare Management System Modernization (DHMSM, pronounced “dim-sum”), will be deployed from 2016-2021 and is expected to cost at least $11 billion. It will replace not just the electronic health record systems in use stateside, but the systems deployed overseas in tactical environments. Expect the final RFP late this month with the next two years spent selecting the vendor, testing, and beginning deployment. Several major SIs and healthcare software companies announced that they would compete. Whoever wins is going to need a lot of help as requirements in just about every technology category are at play in what will be one of the largest health IT contracts ever.

  • Desktop to Datacenter (D2D) IT Infrastructure

This infrastructure consolidation initiative came up frequently during the event. It encapsulates DHA’s efforts to standardize defense health IT infrastructure down to the desktop. It will include standardized medical desktops, common directory services, consolidated area networks, and more. Virtualization, network security, and identity and access management, voice/video/data solutions will be especially needed. D2D is expected to roll out roughly in tandem with the new EHR from 2017-2026.

  • Sustainment of Legacy Health Record

DHA has a requirement to sustain the current electronic health record systems, Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application (AHLTA) and the Composite Health Care System (CHCS) over the next several years while the replacement is being fully deployed. This sustainment calls for more than just maintaining the status quo though. DHA will be looking to improve data sharing between DOD and VA. Making data exchanges more secure will also be a priority.  Solutions involving data protection, data management, APIs, visualization, and analytics will be required. An award is expected later this year.

As you approach the Defense Health Agency with your solution, arm yourself with language explaining how your solution can improve healthcare and, in turn, save lives. One of the common refrains heard from government C-level executives and program managers alike, is how closely intertwined and necessary technology is with quality healthcare. Problems with accuracy and speed of information sharing can cost lives.

Additionally, DHA is in the business of “making money” through cost savings, so be prepared to explain how your solution fits within an era of stagnant budgets. Finally, always be cognizant of the unique requirements of providing healthcare to the DOD population (some sailors receive 70% of their primary care onboard ships).

For more information on what DHA and VA are doing in the areas of health IT and interoperability, listen to our recent Market Intelligence Briefing on  DHA & VA: Exploring Information Sharing & Interoperability Trends in Health IT.

About Lloyd McCoy Jr.
Lloyd McCoy is the Department of Defense Consultant on the Market Intelligence team. Prior to working for immixGroup, he worked in the public sector as a senior analyst with the Defense Department. Lloyd primarily monitors and analyzes issues relating to the Navy/Marine Corps, Defense Health Agency, and the Defense Information Systems Agency

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