Defense contractor and systems integrator Computer Sciences Corp. will join with multifaceted computer services giant Hewlett-Packard and electronic health-record system developer Allscripts
to bid for the estimated multibillion-dollar EHR
contract with the Defense Department's Military Health System.
The group is the second coalition of information technology heavy hitters
to announce they're in the hunt for the multiyear contract valued recently by a Defense official at $11 billion.
On June 11, IBM Corp. and Epic Systems Corp. announced they intend to bid on the Defense Department Healthcare Management Systems Modernization project, which has already been reduced to the initialism DHMSM (pronounced “dim-sum.”)
“We're going to be the lead contractor and system integrator and pursue the DHMSM contract,” said Dr. Robert Wah, chief medical officer for CSC, headquartered in Falls Church, Va.
CSC has been “very closely monitoring” the contract discussions and formal bid procedures so far, said Wah, a retired Navy Medical Corps captain who was inaugurated this month as president of the American Medical Association
Since January, the Defense Department has issued three formal draft requests for proposals in an iterative process in which it has not yet solicited actual bids. The military seeks through the process to provide “early and frequent exposure to industry of the government's evolving DHMSM requirements,” according to a June 9 cover letter to healthcare industry “partners” by U.S. Navy Capt. John Windom, the program manager of the project. The project is overseen by the Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command.
During this early stage, “We're been trying to sort out what the government wants, and see if we're a right fit,” Wah said. “We went out to the rest of industry and did our due diligence to find the best partners to form the best team.”
HP already has extensive experience with the Defense Department, Wah said, including a current contract to run the military's Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System. It manages demographic and eligibility information for all military benefits, not just healthcare. It interfaces with the Military Health System's clinical data repository, providing healthcare providers with military members' immunization data, for example. HP took over those duties in 2008 when it acquired Electronic Data Systems.
The military's Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application, or AHLTA, one of its two main EHR systems to be replaced under the proposed new contract, also runs on an HP Superdome server, Wah said.
Allscripts has a “very comprehensive, integrated electronic health record,” Wah said, but “what we liked about them is they have an open architecture,” which fits with the Defense Department's stated desire for a system with flexibility to meet its future needs.
In addition to several large U.S. healthcare systems as customers, including the Pittsburgh-based UPMC system and Dallas-based Baylor Scott & White Health, Allscripts has its EHR system installed at the National Institutes of Health research hospital in Bethesda, Md. And, Wah said, “we're working alongside them” in Australia, where CSC has a contract deploying outpatient records for its defense agency. Allscripts also is selling inpatient and outpatient systems to Australia's government-run healthcare system.
Windom's letter said the third draft RFP “substantially defines the government's anticipated requirements” that will be conveyed in the final solicitation for proposals. Wah said he expects the final RFP to be issued soon, with a winner selected either late this year or early in 2015.
“We are very pleased to partner with CSC and HP, organizations that share our commitment to innovation, interoperability and connectivity and our dedication to improve the quality of patient care,” said Paul Black, Allscripts president and CEO.
“Recognized as a true open platform,” Allscripts' EHR “will enable the United States military to maximize reuse of its existing systems and to leverage future technological advancements,” Black said.
HP confirmed it was participating in the consortium, but deferred to CSC as the prime contractor for comments on the bid. Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn