The Kansas City-based Cerner Corp. has been awarded a $50.7 million sole source data hosting add-on to the massive Department of Defense Healthcare Management Systems Modernization (DHMSM) electronic health record (EHR) contract that it won last year.
The contract from last year, awarded from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), will cover more than 9.5 million Defense Department beneficiaries and the more than 205,000 care providers that support them. The data hosting services, also doled out by DoD, will be added to the $4.3 billion electronic health record contract, according to several news media reports.
Specifically, according to a report in The Business of Federal Technology, data from the new system must be hosted in Cerner's data centers "to enable the full functionality" of the Defense Healthcare Management Systems Modernization EHR. Cerner's data includes anonymized information from health systems that use the company's EHR and from analytical models based on 15 years of research and development. According to contracting documents, establishing a separate hosting environment for DoD data would inhibit the ability of the DHMSM solution to incorporate Cerner's historical data. Pentagon officials argued that the separate "forked" environment created by segregating DoD data would add costs to the overall procurement, per the report.
What’s more, IBM, Computer Sciences Corp, Amazon and General Dynamics reportedly objected the decision to award the contract to Cerner, but lost the appeal. According to The Business of Federal Technology report, although it's not clear what is contained in each of the four objections, at least one of the vendors believes the Pentagon has the power to tell Cerner to share its data and modeling techniques with a hosting company. However, the contracting documents note that such rights were not part of the solicitation and award, and Cerner has no intention of negotiating them away.