DOD’s New Electronic Health Record System: Future Teaming Opportunities
July 30, 2015 4 Comments
It’s finally here! The long awaited new electronic health record (EHR) system for the Department of Defense has been awarded to a team comprised of Cerner, Leidos, and Accenture. The formal name of this $9 billion 10-year contract ― which let’s be honest, will probably double the award value by the end of the contract ― is the Defense Healthcare Management Systems Modernization or commonly referred to as “dim sum.”
It’s been a long journey since February 2013 when DOD and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs announced they would not be pursuing a joint electronic health record and would instead be going their separate ways. As the dust settles on this major development, let’s examine what comes next and what this contract could mean for the COTS community.
Expect deployment of the new EHR system to start in late 2016, beginning on the west coast in Washington State, with other regions added in waves and gradually moving east. You’ll still want to talk to managers in the Program Executive Office for Defense Healthcare Management Systems which oversees the program right now. Within the next year, I expect oversight will transition to the Defense Health Agency.
Now let’s take a look at future opportunities in the areas of cybersecurity, interoperability, mobility, and scalability tied to this contract.
CYBERSECURITY: PROTECTING PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION (PII)
Recent hacks at IRS and OPM, among many others in the past year, demonstrate the ever-growing need for increased cybersecurity measures on personally identifiable information (PII). This is especially relevant for an electronic health record system containing sensitive information on millions of service members and their families. DOD will be looking for the cybersecurity to be baked into the system that meets following requirements: detects the unending hacking onslaughts against PII, is up to standard, and protects the flow of information coming to and from the military health system.
INTEROPERABILITY: WORKING SEAMLESSLY WITH INPUT AND OUTPUT OF PII
As I mentioned previously, the input and output of PII information in DOD’s EHR must flow seamlessly, which is why legacy framework is being ripped out and replaced. Despite foregoing a unified DOD-VA health record, there’s still a need for both VA and DOD systems to talk to each other as well as private hospitals. Teaming opportunities here are in the areas of data and information management, data normalization, application development, service-oriented architectures and visualization. The new system will also need to be integrated with internal DOD enclaves ranging from identity and authentication services to medical databases to workstations.
MOBILITY: INCREASING PORTABILITY TO SUPPORT SIZE AND SCALE OF EHR
Portability will be critical for the new EHR given the size and scale of DOD. Major mobility requirements that the new EHR must support center on wireless communication, point of injury documentation, and continuity of care from the battlefield to the hospital. In addition, telehealth is growing and more and more clinicians and patients are using mobile devices to communicate.
SCALABILITY: USING MODULAR AND OPEN ARCHITECTURE TO IMPROVE FLEXIBILITY
The exact size and scope of the new electronic health record system is unknown and any solution must be scalable. Program managers said last year that they were looking for a system that had a modular open architecture. Flexibility is key particularly in the areas of security and data management.
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