Combat EHR system cost soars by 2,233 percent

The Defense Health Agency's electronic health record for combat troops--costing 2,233 percent more than originally estimated--topped the list of Defense information systems projects gone off track in a report from the Government Accountability Office.

Cost for the system, the Theater Medical Information Program - Joint (TMIP-J), Increment 2, soared from $67.7 million in November 2002 to $1.58 billion by December 2013.

Reasons attributed to the increase were the addition of capabilities originally intended to be included in a future increment, new requirements necessary to meet the needs of soldiers and the inclusion of operations and maintenance costs.

The cost rivals that proposed for the support operations and maintenance of health information management systems for its array of hospitals and clinics, reports Nextgov.

The DHA, which opened last Oct. 1, is intended to streamline healthcare among the Army, Navy and Air Force medical departments.

With costs 302 percent more than expected, the Marine Corps version of the Global Combat Support System ranked second on the GAO list, and the Defense Logistics Agency's "Defense Agencies Initiative"--designed to modernize the financial systems of all the defense agencies--ranked third with an increase of 159 percent.

The DHA's proposed 2015 budget would more than triple funding for its work on an integrated EHR with the Department of Veterans Affairs, increasing from $19.9 million in 2014 to $68.3 million next year.

The DoD began the procurement process for a new EHR system in January with a draft request for proposals that would rely on off-the-shelf technologies and industry standards supported by the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT.

Around the same time, the DHA also issued a solicitation for a contractor to sustain its legacy electronic health record system for possibly as long as another four years.

To learn more:
- find the report (.pdf)
- here's the Nextgov article