The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has awarded a three-year, $162 million contract to the Fairfax, Va.-based ASM Research, an Accenture Federal Services Company, to modernize VA's existing VistA electronic health record (EHR) system.
Last year, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki announced they would forgo plans to build a new health records system to be used jointly by the Department of Defense (DoD) and VA to instead pursue less expensive technologies to make their individual systems more interoperable. Initially, DoD and VA expected to fully implement the iEHR system by 2017.
Then, in March 2014, the Defense Department‘s health services provider said it planned to launch a new EHR system in phases from 2016 to 2019. The Defense Health Agency said it plans to test implementation of the new EHR system in 2016 at Fort Lewis, Wash.
In its pursue of commercial IT after passing on the VA’s VistA as the basis of its EHR core, the Defense Department has issued multiple draft request for proposals. Since then, several health IT companies have submitted bids for the DOD contract, including: Computer Sciences Corp., in partnership with Hewlett Packard and Allscripts; IBM and Epic; and Cerner, in partnership with Leidos and Accenture Federal Services.
According to an ASM research news release, the VistA Core project work is designed to strengthen and expand veteran healthcare services. Work under the contract enables greater interoperability of systems and healthcare records and will meet the highest security standards, the company’s officials say.
ASM also will update VistA’s computerized patient record system (CPRS), providing a modern, web-based access to patient records. CPRS is a critical component of VistA that provides clinicians, managers, support staff and researchers an integrated patient record management system which provides a single interface for physicians to manage patient care and records.
Work under the contract also will help improve data sharing across the VA, including care transitions and implementation of standards of care. ASM will deliver technical architecture, clinical analysis, software development, engineering management and training to support VistA modernization. This work will help the VA build the next level of patient care capabilities within VistA, ASM officials say.