“On the Road to DHMSM” – The DHA Get’s Ready

The “On the Road to DHMSM” series looks into how the department of defense is getting ready for their intense EHR replacement program.  The “On the Road to DHMSM” journey will then transition into day to day process of how the implementation is progressing.

The long and hot days of summer are here and the electronic health record community is a buzz about who the Department of Defense (DoD) will award the Defense Healthcare management Systems Modernization (DHMSM) (pronounced Dim-Sum) program.  Who could the winner be?  Allscripts, Cerner, Epic?  People around the country are waiting with baited breath on the outcome of the greatest government information technology contact ever to date.

A brand new agency is in the midst of preparation for the DHMSM contract award by readying the infrastructure of the DoD’s vast network.  Everything from email to network structure is being combined into single enterprise systems to ensure success of the selected EHR vendor’s implementation.  This agency is the Defense Health Agency (DHA).  One of the DHA’s greatest focus of infrastructure readiness is in the Pacific Northwest as reported by the Federal Times.  So far the department’s efforts are on schedule and have saved the Dod over a quarter billion dollars in cost savings.  Each of the IT support teams from the armed forces are being transitioned into the DHA; this also includes budget consolidations too.

By the end of 2014 the DoD released its final Request For Proposal (RFP) for clients interested in meeting the need of the DHMSM project.  Those four selected coalitions were: Medsphere/PwC, Allscripts, Cerner and Epic/IBM.  At the end of the first quarter of 2015, the DoD eliminated the Medsphere/PwC coalition citing reasons of being to expensive.  The final award decision will be made by the end of the third quarter of 2015.

What are the details of how this project will be started?  I documented in an article a year ago concerning the DoD’s interest in piloting the implementation of DHMSM in the Puget Sound area.  They are looking into the pilot taking place in eight facilities with an average of 7,000 employees taking part.  Unconfirmed rumor is that the Coast Guard would be the first to go up on the electronic health record (EHR).

Just last week, the armed services announced that they will be giving the $17 million contract for the replacement of the anatomic pathology lab system to Cerner systems.    Does this mean that Epic Systems could be the chosen one for the DHMSM contract award?  I guess we will have to wait, find out and see.  ~ RCM

For a general overview of the project mission and goal requirements, check out this official PDF on the DHMSM project from med.navy.mil.