The VA and DoD’s iEHR project may or may not come together, but it seems clear that at least one party is getting ahead — the vendors the agencies retained to support the project.
A new report from the Interagency Program Office concludes that the two agencies spent more than $300 million funding support contracts for iEHR work in 2012. The IPO’s job is to modernize the Military Health System’s EMR software.
DoD and the VA have been working to build a joint integrated EMR, known as the iEHR, since 2009. The idea is to build an EMR which allows every service member to have and maintain a single personal electronic health record through their career and lifetime.
However, to say the project has been troubled is an understatement, with changes of strategy riddling the effort throughout its lifespan.
In February, for example, the iEHR project was halted, with officials electing to make their current EMR systems more interoperable.
A few months later, DoD Secretary Chuck Hagel wrote a memo stating that the agency will consider a commercial EMR system. Most recently, the DoD asked 27 EMR vendors to provide demos of possible EMR replacements.
Most recently, the DoD announced that it was looking for contractors that can support its current EMR, AHLTA, through 2018.
All I can say is that if you’re following all of this you’re way ahead of me. With so many switches in direction, I can’t imagine anything lasting and good coming out of the process. Maybe you have to be military to get it. As for me, I see a strategy process that seems to be governed by something resembling a coin flip.