DoD's "Naming Switcheroo" for its Health IT Systems

I may be way off base, but it seems to me that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is a master of the "Naming Switcheroo" when it comes to requesting funding for programs that may have run into trouble and used up most of their Congressionally approved funds.

Over a decade ago the military obtained funding to acquire or develop a replacement system for its Composite Health Care System (CHCS) – the electronic health record (EHR) system used in military treatment facilities (MTF) across the cross the globe. 

The first time I heard of this major initiative, it was referred to as the CHCS II project.  Many millions were spent to develop and begin deploying the system, but it turned out to be unsuccessful.  Shortly thereafter, I heard that there was a new Congressionally funded project called CHCS II, Increment II. Unfortunately, this acquisition and development effort also proved unsuccessful.

Take note:  CHCS is a derivative of the VistA System developed and used by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and many other public and private sector hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics in the U.S. and around the world.

I believe the project re-emerged as a new Congressionally funded initiative called AHLTA – although there might even have been another interim project with a different name before it eventually became known as AHLTA. It all started to get a bit confusing. Many years and hundreds of millions of dollars later, it appeared that AHLTA was not going to be the success that they envisioned and a series of new projects emerged to obtain funding to replace AHLTA.

Here's where it gets even more confusing.  Over the past few years we have seen the Congressionally funded Integrated EHR (iEHR) project, the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER), and now there is a new major acquisition project that probably has another new name which I haven't figured out yet. 

Under this innovative "Naming Switcheroo", DoD continues to get Congressional funding for another EHR solution. DoD has become a master at renaming failed projects and convincing Congress to keep throwing lots of tax dollars at acquiring a new, expensive system from one of the hoards of 'beltway bandits' vendors selling another multi-billion dollar bridge-to-nowhere.

All the while, down the road at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), they keep using and continually enhancing the award-winning 'open source' VistA system used in thousands of VA and other public and private sector healthcare facilities around the world. See GIS Map of VistA Installations

Someone famous once said, "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time."  Oh yeah! It was President Abraham Lincoln. 

It's time to stop the "Naming Switcheroo" game. 

We can do better!