VA, DoD set to add pharmacy component to EHR system

The Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense are ready to add the pharmacy component to their integrated EHR (iEHR) system, according to a request for information recently posted by the iEHR Integrated Program Office.

The RFI is meant to develop the performance work statement for the "iEHR pharmacy solution," an enterprise-wide pharmacy system that will give DoD/VA uniform prescription and medication orders, improved patient safety, pharmacy inventory management and enhanced medication reconciliation. The RFI asks respondents for, among other things, licensing, training, computerized physician order entry and data conversion and storage information.

"The iEHR Pharmacy Solution will support the input, ordering, tracking, and dispension of Pharmacy services already being provided in both the VA and DoD, and provide for seamless transition for hospital to hospital," according to the RFI.

But this RFI, the first major procurement for iEHR, may drum up some controversy. The VA has evidently already selected vendor First Databank to provide the drug database and clinical support system, two of the key components of the iEHR Pharmacy Solution, without holding a bidding process, according to Nextgov. Any vendor interested in responding to the RFI must use First Databank for these two componenents.  

The iEHR system is expected to use a best of breed approach, according to FierceEMR, with a combination of open-source, custom, off-the-shelf and other systems. The RFI specifically requests a commercial off-the-shelf solution to support iEHR pharmacy.

Responses to the RFI are due June 21.

To learn more:
- read the RFI
- here's the Nextgov article