Is DoD's EHR modernization bound to fail?

Jack McCarthy | Healthcare IT News | July 28, 2015

"The system is more balkanized now than it used to be, because the cost and complexity of the installed technology deters sharing."

The Department of Defense's plans to spend $11 billion on a new EHR system are coming under fire. The Defense Healthcare Management Systems Modernization, aka DHMSM, is intended to facilitate interoperable information sharing among the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and private-sector healthcare providers.

Yet some are saying the system, the most expensive EHR investment of its kind, is bound for failure, while others suggest the contract itself should be delayed pending further review. Thomas J. Verbeck, a CIO and a retired U.S. Air Force brigadier general, recently wrote that sharing data is essential for the DoD because it will speed healthcare delivery and save lives, as well as reduce healthcare costs, prevent medical errors and avoid unnecessary testing.

"But the DoD's plan will fail," Verbeck wrote in The Fayetteville Observer. "That's because most of today's EHR systems, including the bidder finalists, are designed only to work within their own system. That allows them to charge physicians and hospitals outside their system for access to your data. DoD can demand a system that seamlessly connects health data with civilian hospitals – or the VA – but it has failed to do so."...