Will The DoD Create Another Frankenstein EHR?

Donald Voltz | HIT Consultant | October 31, 2014

Will the DoD create another Frankenstein EHR monster? Don’t trick us with dead data, treat us with middleware connectivity, Dr. Donald Voltz writes.

While many children will trick or treat, the DoD Healthcare Management System Modernization closes its bidding process today to replace their current EHR for active-duty personal and their families. The current system, the Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application (AHLTA) will be replaced with a commercial system and the large amount of data migrated into the selected system. No question this is a huge decision and a complex health IT endeavor, both in the selection of an ideal solution to last for many years and the migration of a great deal of information from the legacy AHLTA to the newly selected EHR.

The stakes are high for the vendors who threw their hat in the ring. This decision will lead to one of the largest migrations of health data from one system to another. The comprehensive AHLTA, implemented in 2004, supports nearly 10 million beneficiaries, storing their complete medical history, medically coded along with administrative information pertaining to their healthcare. Interestingly, AHLTA was the first EHR to have central storage of standardized patient health data with online access to all of this information, linking more than 450 treatment facilities around the world.

However, with so much at stake, there are many concerns. The decision to rip and replace the AHLTA with any of the vendor systems bidding for this large contract raises as many questions as the decision attempts to address. This appears to violate the ONC’s requirements, whose guiding design principle clearly points out that any solutions must be built on top of an existing environment and avoid any disruption of service. How can the government violate its own guidelines?...