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Cerner, Leidos, Accenture plan joint bid for Defense EHR contract


By Joseph Conn
Posted: June 26, 2014 - 7:45 pm ET
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Cerner Corp. has entered an alliance with experienced government contractors Leidos and Accenture Federal Services to make a play for the multibillion-dollar contract to build, install and configure a replacement electronic health-record system for the Defense Department's health system.

The companies join an increasingly crowded field of companies vying for the business. Earlier this week Computer Sciences Corp., Hewlett-Packard and Allscripts announced they would bid for the 10-year contract estimated to be worth $11 billion.

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The Military Health System includes 56 hospitals and roughly 360 clinics serving 9.6 million beneficiaries and a hodgepodge of clinical information systems. The EHR to replace them all will need to scale up to serve 146,000 MHS personnel.

On June 11, IBM Corp. and Epic Systems Corp. announced they intend to bid on what's being called the Defense Healthcare Management Systems Modernization project, or DHMSM, pronounced “dim sum.”

Systems integrator Accenture Federal Services is a subsidiary of the consulting firm Accenture. Leidos, based in Reston, Va., was previously part of Science Applications International Corp., or SAIC, and was spun off this year.

SAIC has at least a 25-year history with the MHS, having built its Composite Health Care System from software code supplied by the Veterans Affairs Department under a $1 billion contract awarded in 1988. That system, known as CHCS, is still in use in military hospitals because its proposed successor, AHLTA, failed to become its total replacement.

“Our goal is to provide the best solution at the best value—a world-class solution that is highly interoperable, built on modern and open architecture, and designed and deployed by a team with unmatched expertise in implementing complex systems around the globe,” Cerner spokeswoman Kate O'Neill Rauber said in an e-mail confirming the partnership.

In addition to CHCS and AHLTA, the new system will replace the EHR components of Theater Medical Information Program-Joint, which includes AHLTA-Theater, Theater Medical Information Program Composite Health Care System Cache and AHLTA-Mobile.

In February 2013, the Defense Department and the VA scrapped a 5-year-old plan to jointly develop an EHR to serve both departments' vast healthcare empires, citing the high cost, estimates for which ranged widely, to upward of about $15 billion.

Soon afterward, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the Military Health System would seek a commercial, off-the-shelf replacement. Since January, the department has issued three formal requests for proposals to hone its specifications, but has not yet issued a final RFP. That is expected to come soon, with a final contract to be awarded sometime next year.

Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn


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