Bureaucracy holds up military EMR deployment

While commercial EMR vendors say they could develop a joint Web-based health record system within a year for the VA and DoD, it increasingly seems bureaucracy makes that all but impossible. WebMD, for example, contends it could easily create a system comparable to what it offers more than 100 hospitals and health systems through its private portal technology. Another vendor, NCR-owned Web-portal developer Galvanon, has termed the job of integrating VA and DoD systems "relatively easy."

But that may be just a pipe dream for the military. In a recent report, The Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors notes that though the Department of Defense and the VA have been working to integrate records for at least five years, they've made remarkably little progress in integrating health data.

While Web MD executive vice president Craig Froude says a 12-month timeframe might be a bit tight for completing the whole integration, there's little doubt his company could complete the VA/DoD integration quickly, and could bring up some functionality within a one-year time period. The reality is that in addition to political infighting, which has dragged all integration to a near standstill, the VA at least is nowhere near automated enough to speed the project along, notes Robert McFarland, who previously served as the VA's assistant secretary for information and technology as well as CIO.

To learn more about the military EMR situation:
- read this Government Executive piece

ALSO: A GAO report has found that several government IT systems, including those of HHS, still have serious security weaknesses. Article

Related Articles:
DoD partners with Florida for data sharing network. Report
VA EMR project faces DoD opposition. Report
Congress seeks single EMR for military. Report