Leidos-Cerner-Accenture focus on trust, experience for Defense EHR bid

By Marla Durben Hirsch

When it comes to the coveted $11 billion Defense Healthcare Management Systems Modernization (DHMSM) contract, expected to be announced by June, the team representing government contractor Leidos, electronic health record vendor Cerner and Accenture Federal believes that familiarity could give them a leg up in the competition. For instance, Jim Traficant, managing director for Accenture Federal Services (AFS) and president of ASM Research, pointed to Leidos' 30-year relationship with the Department of Defense as a bright spot in an interview with FierceEMR.

In the second of a three-part series, Traficant, along with Travis Dalton, VP and general manager of Cerner Federal and Jerry Hogge, senior vice president and deputy group president for Leidos Health, share information about their bid for the DoD's EHR contract.

FierceEMR:  What makes your bid unique, worthy of the DoD contract?

Hogge (pictured right): We believe our solution best serves the Department of Defense's mission. It's one of great magnitude and complexity.

Dalton: The conversation goes well beyond EHRs. It' more than bringing a tool set. It's also a culture and philosophy and leadership with the Department of Defense. 

Traficant: The opportunity to serve the Department of Defense is a very high calling. We're very focused on the mission.  We're very proud to be part of this team.

FierceEMR: What does each partner bring to the table?

Traficant (pictured left): Leidos has been a trusted partner of the Department for three decades. There's a richness of what we do at the Department of Defense. Accenture has the global capability for EHR deployment, with No. 1 EHR integration globally. Cerner has the most open, modular interoperable EHR system directly aligned for the Department of Defense.

Dalton: Intermountain Health Care put Cerner through its expansive network and volunteered to be part of this program. It's a key partner for us. It has a number of well thought out, vetted care process models and a data repository similar to what the Department of Defense uses. In addition, it's an innovative partner in the interoperability conversation on a national level.

FierceEMR: How would your team improve data sharing with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' EHR system?

Hogge: There are very specific requirements in the Request for Proposal on interoperability and national standards for interoperability. There were predecessor programs with the Veterans Administration. After [Chuck] Hagel became Secretary of Defense, he took a review and began the DHMSM acquisition process. We applaud what DHMSM has done. We plan to facilitate interoperability between DHMSM and other systems.

Dalton (pictured right): This is much more than now. Innovation will also be important. Cerner has been preparing for interoperability for a long time. Cerner is a founding member of CommonWell, and active in the Health IT Policy Committee.

FierceEMR: Would this contract have any broader implications for health IT?  

Hogge: The Department took [leadership] steps in the 1980s well before EHRs. They led then and are leading now, driving 10 million users around the world, often where there's little connectivity. Their unique scale and character drives innovation that will find itself in the commercial environment. It's a very broad complex system unlike any other. It sets a lot of ground work for the commercial sector. 

Dalton: We're at a pivot point in healthcare. The conversation used to be about the adoption of EHRs and CPOE. Now it's about interoperability, portability and data. There are three key elements: knowing your population, so you need an EHR; engaging the population with portals and wellness; and managing the population using algorithms. The Department of Defense is a great opportunity to advance these concepts. It has its own healthcare ecosystem. DoD has the opportunity to lead the industry.

FierceEMR: What do you envision in the future of health IT?

Hogge: There's been a lot of investment in healthcare and health IT in improving accessibility and quality of care. There will be innovation, in early detection of sepsis, post-traumatic stress and suicide prevention. The technology in hospitals, with doctors and at home will lower costs, provide better care and save lives. There will be precision medicine, early diagnosis, data analytics facilitated by the acquisition of data and intervention with wearables.

Editor's Note: This interview has been condensed for clarity and content.

Leidos-Cerner-Accenture focus on trust, experience for Defense EHR bid