DOD Seeks Best Ideas For Electronic Health Records

Press Release | Department of Defense (DoD) | January 30, 2014

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30, 2014 – The Defense Department is releasing a draft request for proposals, or RFP, to modernize the military health system, the program manager for the effort said yesterday.

The draft is designed to involve private industry early in the government’s requirements for the Healthcare Management Systems Modernization project, Navy Capt. John H. Windom said. The program seeks to modernize the DOD electronic health record while also working to make it interoperable with Department of Veterans Affairs and private provider electronic medical records.

On the DOD side, the job is to replace the various legacy systems with one that supports interoperability with VA’s follow-on system and improves the quality of care. Medical records would seamlessly move between the organizations and with private medical practitioners, Windom explained.

The draft RFP provides private industry with an early introduction to the ongoing requirements-development efforts, he said, giving private industry experts a chance to offer comments or pose questions. “This process will help us as we write requirements and [private industry] as they align their solutions,” the captain said.

The size and scope of the DOD and VA systems complicates the mission. Many of the legacy systems were not designed to work together, and they weren’t designed with the same standards and technology. The new system will leverage off-the-shelf technologies and industry standards as supported by the Office of the National Coordinator, Windom said. The office coordinates nationwide efforts to implement and use the most advanced health information technology and the electronic exchange of health information.

The iterative releasing of the draft RFP is necessary for the program, the captain said. “There is nothing better than open and frequent communication with industry,” he added. “We don’t want to set a requirement that is technologically unachievable by industry or [that] we can’t afford.”

The frequent and open dialogue -- the office could possibly release up to two more draft RFPs -- exposes private industry to the DOD requirements development process, Windom said.

“As such, we get to take on board their thoughts, their comments on the products that we’re presenting at the various stages,” he added.

The new system will likely be deployed first to the Pacific Northwest, the captain said. The system deployment is scheduled to begin by the end of 2016.

(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneAFPS)