Frank Kendall, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics responsible for DOD’s electronic healthcare records integration with the VA is focusing on two issues. The first issue requires the agencies to seamlessly integrate their health-record sharing so records so that service members are able to transfer smoothly to the VA system as they leave active duty.
Also, DOD and the VA will need to modernize their networked software systems. However, a solution for upgrading the networked software system that DOD uses in their clinics and hospitals to track patient care has just begun. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is seeking a commercial firm to provide the software that needs to be fully compatible with the VA’s system. Market research has turned up 20 firms interested in the proposal.
To help find a solution to integrating DOD and VA record systems, Representative Phil Roe M.D. (R-TN) a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, a physician, and a veteran, on May 20th sent a letter to the Secretaries of Defense and the VA requesting a meeting to discuss the legislation he recently introduced “Integrated Electronic Health Records for Military and Veterans Act” (H.R. 2055).
The legislation would create a public-private partnership to develop an iEHR system quickly and would be cost effective. The legislation would also jumpstart coordination between DOD and the VA by making the departments draft the rules for a prize competition that would be held for iEHR development.
The prize would be similar to the X-Prize that led to the first privately designed reusable space vehicle. The competition would award a prize to the system that best fits DOD and the VA’s needs. This effort would utilize universities, businesses, and individual programmers to come up with creative solutions for development of the system.