In June, Cerner announced it was joining with defense and national security contractor Leidos, and consultant and systems integrator Accenture to bid on the contract to replace a hodgepodge of existing health information technology systems used by the Military Health System. The 10-year contract is estimated to be worth $11 billion.
Leidos is a Reston, Va., spinoff from defense and national intelligence service contractor Science Applications International Corp.
SAIC has a long history with the Military Health System. It developed the military's first comprehensive EHR called the Composite Health Care System, a clone of the Veterans Affairs Department's EHR, at an initial cost of $1 billion. CHCS is still being used in military hospitals.
At least four groups of IT companies are bidding on the project.
"Intermountain's extensive history and expertise with military health partnerships, as well as its unparalleled reputation for excellence in research, education and collaboration, are invaluable as we work to deliver a world-class solution for our active duty military, veterans and their families," said Jeff Townsend, Cerner executive vice president.
With 22 hospitals and 185 clinics throughout Utah and southeastern Idaho, Intermountain is roughly half the size of the Military Health System, which operates 59 hospitals and 360 health clinics.
Last September, Intermountain, a pioneer in health IT, announced it would replace its current EHR and financial systems with Cerner products.
Cerner Vice President Travis Dalton, in an exchange of emails, said they expect Intermountain “to work with us and advise on design elements and provide ongoing consultation and thought leadership.
Intermountain also has developed “world-class” clinical content, said Dalton, who oversees activities organizations in the investor-owned and federal market segments, but the Defense Department’s specifications for its own EHR system are “very detailed.” Any content or tools from Intermountain “would have to also conform to those (DoD) requirements,” he said.
Dalton declined to discuss any potential remuneration Intermountain might receive from the collaboration.
“We can’t speak to financial terms,” Dalton said.
An Intermountain spokesperson was unavailable at deadline.
Intermountain is not the first, nor even the largest provider organization to announce it would be participating in the Military Health System bidding. That distinction goes to the VA, whose former secretary, Eric Shinseki, said in March the VA wanted to be “in the competition.”
The VA's Veterans Health Administration operates 151 hospitals and 827 clinics.
A consortium of PricewaterhouseCoopers, General Dynamics, DSS and Medsphere has announced it intends to use an open-source version of the VA's VistA EHR system in its bid for the military contract.
In May 2013, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced his department would seek bids from developers to replace the Military Health System's multiple EHRs, ending a plan to work with the VA on a joint project to develop one replacement EHR for both of their healthcare systems.
Hagel said he was “convinced that a competitive process is the optimal way to ensure we select the best value solutions for DoD.”
Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn