IHS Selects General Dynamics to Configure New Oracle Cerner EHR

Nov. 10, 2023
As the EHR system integrator, General Dynamics will manage a large number of companies and will be accountable to the Indian Health Service for the overall performance of the EHR replacement

The Indian Health Service has selected General Dynamics Information Technology Inc. to build, configure, and maintain a new IHS enterprise electronic health record system using Oracle Cerner technology.

The IHS, an agency in the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, provides health service for approximately 2.8 million American Indians and Alaska Natives who belong to 574 federally recognized tribes in 37 states.

The contract with General Dynamics has a potential to reach $2.5 billion over 10 years. Oracle Cerner’s technology is also being used in modernization efforts at the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs. This year, the VA has halted  deployments in its EHR Modernization effort while it prioritizes improvements at the five sites that currently use the new EHR, as part of a larger program reset.

The new IHS EHR will replace the Resource and Patient Management System (RPMS), a 40-year-old system that handles everything from patient registration to insurance billing. The goal of the updated system is to modernize IHS’ healthcare delivery and operations, making it easier for patients and providers to access updated and accurate information when they need it. 

“We are ready and eager to move forward with the enterprise EHR with our partners. It is time to replace our current system and ensure that IHS is keeping pace with technological advances across the health care delivery system,” said IHS Chief Information Officer and Director for the Office of Information Technology Mitchell Thornbrugh, in a statement. “This Modernization – and the technology that drives it – will impact every part of our healthcare delivery. Most importantly, the new EHR will enable patients and their providers to have updated and accurate information to make the best healthcare decisions.”

This selection was made after a rigorous federal acquisition process that was open to all vendors. Throughout the process, the IHS said, it coordinated with tribal and urban Indian organization partners through extensive tribal engagement via tribal consultations, listening sessions, urban confers, advisory committee meetings, an Industry Day, and the participation of hundreds of tribal, urban Indian, and IHS system users in vendor product demonstrations.

“This is a major milestone in our work to deliver quality modern health care to American Indians and Alaska Natives,” said IHS Director Roselyn Tso, in a statement. “With the new EHR system, patients will have better access to their own health information, providers can more effectively coordinate patient care in and out of our network, and we can better track the health of tribal communities overall.”

A cross-disciplinary technical evaluation panel evaluated the submitted proposals. The IHS said it selected General Dynamics because it had the strongest overall technical approach, demonstrated experience deploying complex information technology systems for the federal government, and is offering a highly capable EHR product that was well-received by system users participating in scenario-based demonstration sessions. As the EHR system integrator, GDIT will manage a large number of companies on its team and will be accountable to IHS for the overall performance of the EHR replacement.

The IHS chose to use an Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract structure for this requirement to support the recurring needs anticipated in the enterprise EHR. Under the IDIQ contract structure, the IHS will issue specific task orders for technical support and services. This gives the IHS the ability to adjust what it purchases, incorporate lessons learned, user input, and availability of new technology.