PwC says Google was always part of the bid, which proposes to build a system on open-source software derived from the Veterans Affairs Department's EHR system, VistA. Google would provide services in infrastructure, including cloud, security, storage, networking and enterprise search capabilities, said PwC health IT practice leader Dan Garrett.
The bid has attracted fierce competition from many of the biggest players in computing and government contracting. PwC says having Google on board will demonstrate to officials weighing the bids for the 10-year contract—who are expected to make a decision this summer—that the team is capable of evolving with the technological times. “One way to guarantee that (continued) innovation is to have a partner like Google,” Garrett said.
Google's search services will allow providers to query EHR data extensively, Garrett said. A doctor could query it for all the patients with post-traumatic stress disorder, for example, and then search for correlations between patients with the disorder and comorbidities, or other factors that led to an improvement or decline in health.
It's “population management in its purest definition,” Garrett said.
Garrett pointed out that Google has already implemented its infrastructure services for the Defense Department's Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, which educates prospective military health providers.
A bidding group formed by IBM and Epic recently publicized an advisory group with prominent providers such as Kaiser Permanente and Geisinger Health that would help the Defense Department implement the Epic EHR. Other groups seeking the contract include a partnership between Cerner, Accenture and Leidos (with help from Intermountain Healthcare) and one with Allscripts, Computer Sciences Corp. and Hewlett-Packard.
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