House appropriators 'dismayed' at lack of iEHR progress


House appropriators say they're "dismayed at the lack of progress" by the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs in standing up an integrated electronic health record.

A report (.pdf) accompanying the fiscal 2014 defense appropriations bill, which the Appropriations Committee approved June 12, says the current approach announced by departmental secretaries in February replaces the goal of a single, common EHR with the "as-of-yet unattainable goal of interoperability."

In a Feb. 5 joint press conference with then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, the departments announced cancelation of a planned $4 billion integrated EHR known as the iEHR.

The report calls on the defense secretary to submit a report providing a long-term plan and "an explanation of the anticipated future role, if any, of the joint Interagency Program Office" as well as a description of money spent to date by the office.

House appropriators wouldn't be the first to question the role of the IPO following the February announcement, nor the amount of money the office has spent, which some insiders have characterized as excessive.

For more:
- download the House Appropriations fiscal 2014 report (.pdf)
- go to a House Appropriations statement on the fiscal defense spending bill 2014 bill

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