Electronic Health Records

Selection & Replacement News

DOD: Interoperability, quality key factors in EHR selection

By Jennifer Bresnick

Christopher Miller’s first two months as program executive officer for the DOD’s Healthcare Management System have certainly been eventful.  At an Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association event this week, Miller gave a little insight into the rocky EHR modernization process that has been the subject of much speculation and intense lawmaker attention over the past few years.  After ditching the idea of a jointly integrated VA-DOD EHR system, Miller’s task is to figure out a way to complete a process that has already cost taxpayers $1 billion with no results.

“I think there’re a lot of people out there curious about what’s been going on,” Miller said. “I want to take this opportunity to share what I’ve been doing the last 60 days, as well as where I think the departments are going. My focus really comes down to modernizing our systems and figuring out how to really get our data from the point where we’re just sharing data to where it’s actually helping make better decisions. We’re trying to make sure that our clinical community can make the best decision possible to improve health outcomes.”

In order to accomplish that, interoperability will be key.  In addition to his role at the DOD, Miller heads the Interagency Program Office that ensures Defense is working closely with the VA to adopt and develop standards that will integrate both departments as well as the civilian healthcare system. “It’s important that we don’t forget the private provider health data,” he said. “We do a lot of care through our commercial care partners, so we’ve really got to think about this in a multidimensional way. We are not just one or two hospitals in a region. We are an integrated, global delivery network with more than 9.6 million beneficiaries in major medical centers, clinics, and even ships.”

To acquire the highest quality product capable of accomplishing these difficult goals, the competitive bidding process is the way to go, Miller says.  While it may take time to align all the pieces of the puzzle, in the end, the DOD plans to create a system that will lead the nation in technological development and help advance national standards. “I’m looking for the best value,” he said. “There [are] no preconceived ideas or notions. We are just trying to make sure we get the best value that meets our requirements that really sets us forward where we need to be for the future.”

 

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