The Defense and Veterans Affairs departments' Interagency Program Office was designed to be "a single point of accountability" for health record interoperability efforts, but lawmakers are right to question its very existence, said a Government Accountability Office official.
Under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014, the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments are required to deploy modernized electronic health records that employ full, standards-based interoperability by Dec. 31, 2016, but the Government Accountability Office says the departments aren't on track to meet that goal until after 2018.
The winning team, which also includes Accenture Federal and Henry Schein Practice Solutions, beat out competitors, including one team led by Allscripts, Computer Science Corp. and HP, and another led by Epic Systems and IBM.
"We have shared data between DoD and VA for a long time. But what we have not always done – and we are creating now – is a system for providers at the point of care…that natively integrates all of the data from both sides," said David Waltman, senior advisor to the Under Secretary for Health, during a June 11 demonstration of EHMP at VA headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The Defense Department's next electronic health record will not be based on the open source architecture that supports the Veterans Affairs Department's EHR.
VA's Office of Information and Technology, or OI&T, requests a total budget authority of $4.13 billion in fiscal 2016 – $231 million more than the fiscal 2015 enacted level and $430 million more than the fiscal 2014 budget.
A marketing campaign aimed at raising the profile of the Veterans Affairs Department's open source electronic health record is in full swing. The Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture, or VistA, now has a website, Twitter account and LinkedIn group- just as the Defense Department considers a VistA proposal for its new EHR.
After several draft versions, a request for proposal for the Defense Department's highly-anticipated electronic health record is taking shape. Draft solicitations for the DoD's Healthcare Management System Modernization, or DHMSM, have been updated several times since DoD issued its first acquisition draft document in January.
Electronic health record interoperability between the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments has been a long time coming, but an interagency program office is making progress, a DoD official told lawmakers during an April 9 hearing.
House appropriators propose a $3.87 billion budget for information and technology systems at the Veterans Affairs Department. That amount, released April 2 in a draft (pdf) of the fiscal 2015 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill, includes $344 million for the department's electronic health record.