Peace Corps to implement EHRs

The Peace Corps has announced plans to implement EHRs this year--in 77 developing countries.

The organization issued a Request for Information (RFI) last month to solicit comment from EHR vendors who are interested in helping it launch an EHR system to conduct medical screenings for its recruits and volunteers. According to the RFI, the Corps is looking for a comprehensive system that, among other things, has the capability to electronically transfer information, offer searchable problem, medication and allergy lists and vaccinations records.

The Peace Corp's EHR also needs to include a billing module capable of exporting superbills, and interface with OpenEMR "at post" for practice management purposes. The Corps intends to use laptops or mobile devices with the system. It expects to run a limited pilot by the end of fiscal year 2012 and be up and running everywhere by fiscal year 2013.

Interestingly, the Corps acknowledged that there would be challenges to the project because of the world-wide nature of its network and the low bandwidth due to "poor" connectivity, primarily in Africa and Asia Pacific. It would consider a "cloud" based EHR system but noted that only one-third of its posts could use it due to connectivity problems, and that "an overall solution must work for all posts." 

The RFI posed several specific questions for vendors to answer, such as how a vendor would staff the product, how much it would cost, and what kind of experience the vendor has with low bandwidth situations.

To learn more:
- read the request for information
- check out this Government Health IT article