One vendor team’s approach to DoD EHR: Start with VistA

Also on the topic of DoD electronic health records, the department has moved in fits-and-starts toward the idea of cooperating with VA on building a new health record system since each department is in the hunt for a more modern one, but finally made it clear last May that it would pursue a commercial solution.

But advocates for VistA — VA’s EHR system — shouldn’t give up hope yet. There’s still some chance that DoD could wind up using the same system VA does, or at least a commercial derivative of it.

A team of vendors including PricewaterhouseCoopers and General Dynamics say their bid for the DoD EHR contract will involve an open architecture that makes heavy use of the code base that VA made available to the public when it decided to release VistA into the open source software community three years ago.

The bid, as PwC described it in a news release, would not entail a drag-and-drop copy of the VistA system VA is using, but rather some combination of the modernization project VA is conducting with help from the open source community, plus some interfaces to proprietary applications developed by other members of the vendor team, including DSS, Inc. and Medsphere.

The Pentagon has explicitly left open the possibility of adopting some derivative of VistA — as long as it is supported by a commercial vendor and acquired through a head-to-head competition with other commercial EHR providers.

During an early round of market research at the beginning of last year, DoD heard interest from 20 vendors, three of whom said they’d consider using some version of VistA.

Out & About:

A busy week ahead in the DoD events world:

  • On Friday, Sept. 20, Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology, will officially roll out the latest version of DoD’s acquisition improvement effort: “Better Buying Power 3.0.” The event will be hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and as we first reported in April, the new version of Better Buying Power will be focused on technological superiority.
  • The Air Force’s biggest public event of the year starts on Monday at lasts through Wednesday at the Gaylord National Harbor just outside of D.C. We’ll be broadcasting live from 2014 Air and Space Conference. Speakers include the Secretary of the Air Force, the Air Force Chief of Staff, and just about everyone else with important things to say about the service’s priorities for the next year.
  • AFCEA’s D.C. chapter hosts an Army IT panel discussion on Monday at the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City. Mike Krieger, the Army’s deputy CIO will moderate; other participants include Doug Wiltsie, the Army program executive officer for enterprise information systems, Alan Lynn, DISA’s vice director and John Morrison, the commander of the Army Network Enterprise Technology Command.

RELATED STORIES:

On DoD: Army charts overlaps between cyber, electronic warfare

RFP officially begins DoD effort to modernize electronic health records

DoD chooses interoperability over integration for new e-health record system

This post is part of Jared Serbu’s Inside the Reporter’s Notebook feature. Read more from this edition of Jared’s Notebook.

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