Department of Defense Announces EHR Modernization Program Delay

Sept. 6, 2016
On Sep. 1, the Department of Defense announced a temporary delay in the EHR modernization program whose commercial partnership had been announced a year ago

The Department of Defense, through its Defense Healthcare Management Systems Program Executive Office (PEO DHMS), announced on September 1 that it was delaying its EHR (Electronic Health Record) Modernization Program.

A report by Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Jared Serbu cited remarks that Stacy Cummings, program executive officer of PEO DHMS, gave to the press on Thursday. “We challenged ourselves to a very, very aggressive schedule because we know this system is going to work and it’s going to improve health care,” Cummings told reporters, according to Serbu’s report. “When we identified issues we decided to take the time we needed to get it right. We think the users we’re supporting deserve that, and the few months we’re investing right now is going to enable us to get it right on day one.”

Cummings said the problems were discovered during tests involving DoD and its prime contractor, Leidos, that simulated various health care scenarios and measured the ability of the software, made primarily by Cerner, to respond to them. “During the testing of those scenarios, we found that the data exchange wasn’t happening in the way that we intended,” she said. “But these are technical issues, they’re solvable, and we have confidence that we will solve them.”

Meanwhile, as the announcement itself stated, “The Program Executive Office Defense Healthcare Management Systems (PEO DHMS) will modify the MHS GENESIS program schedule within the next 30 days. The modification is driven by the aggressive schedule and issues identified during testing that led to the determination that more time is needed to correct these issues. PEO DHMS anticipates that initial deployment will move a few months.”

The announcement continued, “The DoD Healthcare Management System Modernization (DHMSM®) Program Management Office (PMO) and their industry partner, the Leidos Partnership for Defense Health (LPDH), have made significant progress developing interfaces, user-approved workflows, and technical integration of the baseline operational system currently undergoing required government test processes. The DHMSM PMO and LPDH team are committed to deliver a high quality solution to the Military Health System (MHS). The MHS GENESIS program schedule is aggressive, with concurrent system configuration, contractor testing, government testing, and cybersecurity risk management.”

As the announcement noted, “The DHMSM PMO contract was awarded to Leidos, Inc., for $4.3 billion in the summer of 2015. The LPDH will deliver and support MHS GENESIS, a modernized and interoperable electronic health record, across the MHS. MHS GENESIS provides a single, integrated medical and dental record. LPDH will deliver Cerner Millennium and Henry Schein's Dentrix Enterprise commercial systems and will interface with select Department of Defense legacy systems to meet military unique functionality.”

As HCI reported on July 29, 2015, a consortium of three companies—Leios, Cerner Corporation, and Accenture Federal, last summer won the DoD EHR Modernization Program contract, covering more than 9.5 million DoD beneficiaries and the more than 205,000 care providers who support them. The DoD and the Veterans Administration (VA) were already interoperable.

Healthcare Informatics will update its readers on this story as new developments emerge.

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