3 reasons why 2017 is the year for defense health IT
January 24, 2017 Leave a comment
By Lloyd McCoy Jr., DOD manager
2017 promises to be a pivotal year for the Defense Health Agency and not just because MHS Genesis, the Department of Defense’s replacement electronic health record, starts rolling out next month.
Expect attention to now shift to other priorities on DHA’s plate. I’ve written about several of these drivers recently and in earlier blogs and they are just as applicable today. But a couple of recent policy changes and developments are shaping the future of military health.
Hospitals and clinics shifting to DHA
Late last month, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act for 2017. The law contains a provision calling for all military hospitals and clinics to fall under DHA by September 2018.
While still over a year away, expect movement toward consolidation this year. This is a huge development and is going to create a lot of opportunities for cybersecurity, data management and business operations vendors. One of the biggest challenges DHA wants to address with its hospitals and clinics is the lack of interoperability. DHA wants to make sure that the hundreds of programs and devices military hospitals use to speak the same language and are compatible with the new electronic health record.
Increase share of care
Another FY17 priority for DHA Director, Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, is enticing service members and their dependents back to using military treatment facilities.
She estimates that more than 60 percent of care for service members, veterans and their families are provided by the private sector. The Admiral’s strategy will absolutely require support from industry as the organization seeks to track healthcare trends and personnel movements, monitor workloads and improve internal business processes to recapture care from the private sector.
Some of the largest medical markets, like the Pacific Northwest, Washington, DC, Colorado Springs, San Antonio and Hawaii have been given budgetary independence to make this happen. If your company has tools that can help with the Admiral’s goals, as well as patient engagement, outreach and overall enhancements to the clinical environment, you’ll want to start conversations in these regions.
New EHR will mean a boon for analytics
Another area for growth is in analytics. DHA and the service branch medical commands are looking forward to marshaling the new EHR’s analytic capabilities to support mission planning, shape training and monitor how equipment is being used. Making this challenge complex is when information needs to be shared outside of DOD where everything from brand names to record keeping standards might be vastly different. Because of the abundance of unstructured and structured data that needs to be processed and analyzed, there are going to be a lot of opportunities here for big data and analytics vendors. Also, it’s safe to say the DOD medical community has thought of only a fraction of the ways data can be sliced and diced to support decision making.
The military health system presents many opportunities for IT product manufacturers because the challenges are so vast. This space is a little unique, so that means going back to the old sales 101 strategies, like understanding your customer’s pain points and approaching them armed with solutions is more important than ever.
The military health community is no different. They don’t want to field calls from reps asking them what their issues are. They want you to come in and demonstrate the know-how to address and fix the multitude of challenges they face to meet their vastly important mission of delivering care to our service members’ and their families.
Learn more on defense health IT trends in my on-demand webinar, Detecting IT Sales Opportunities at the Defense Health Agency. Reach out to the Market Intelligence team for more guidance.