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DoD calls for proposals for new healthcare management systems

The U.S. Department of Defense issued a request for proposals to update their legacy health IT systems, including their EHR. The project is expected to come with a multi-billion dollar price tag and put modernized systems in place by the end of 2016.

Proposals are due to the Department of Defense (DoD) on Oct. 9, 2014 and all questions must be submitted by September 8. The request was a finalization of three updates made to the draft proposal which is part of the DoD’s Healthcare Management Systems Modernization (DHMSM) Program.

In an April appearance before the Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Defense, DHMSM Program Executive Officer Christopher Miller stated the goals of the DoD’s healthcare program. He said the DoD holds a “steadfast commitment to the modernization and interoperability of our EHRs.” He mentioned the importance of exchanging interoperable data with U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) EHRs, as well as with private providers.

The DoD has long been exploring investments in a new EHR system. Last October, the agency announced the beginning of a search to replace their legacy EHR with a system that was compliant with stage 1, at a minimum. That was conducted when the DoD and VA were jointly working towards implementing an integrated EHR to be shared between the two departments. The DoD’s current EHR odyssey stretches back at least as far as 2005 — when the last revision was made to a previous plan to replace their Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released the findings of its research into the DoD and VA’s EHR plans. The GAO report, released after the two departments scrapped plans to adopt an integrated EHR, stated “VA and DOD have not substantiated their claims that the current approach [to deploy separate EHR systems] will be less expensive and more timely than the single-system approach.” The GAO also noted that, as of February, the departments had not disclosed their strategy for navigating previously identified barriers to health IT collaboration. The GAO cited problem areas in enterprise architecture and IT investment management.

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