VA to compete for DoD EHR contract

The U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs has not given up on integrating its electronic health record system with that of the Department of Defense, entering its own system as a contender in response to DoD's request for proposal seeking a new EHR system, according to a new article in Nextgov.

At a House VA committee hearing March 13, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said that VA wants to be part of the "competition" for the contract. It is upgrading its current VistA EHR system--VistA Evolution--that will be equal to the commercial EHR software that DoD has expressed an interest in; VA has also released its open-source multiuser multiprogram system (MUMPS) code that powers VistA to commercial EHR developers, so the VA and commercial EHR systems likely will become even more similar.

DoD had released a draft request for proposal in January to upgrade its EHR, which would rely on off the shelf technology and industry standards.

DoD and VA had worked for years to integrate their EHRs, a project that ultimately was abandoned in February 2013. The American Legion, in testimony before the hearing, called it "unforgivable" that VA and DoD have wasted so much time and money on integration and have yet to be successful.

The Defense Health Agency--created last fall to streamline health care among the Navy, Army and Air Force medical departments--has been somewhat inconsistent regarding integration, issuing the solicitation to keep its legacy systems but asking in its proposed budget for an increase that would more than triple funds for its work on an integrated EHR.

To learn more:
- here's the Nextgov article