Defense and VA Will Make Commercial Software a Top Priority For Joint Electronic Health Record, Memo Says

Bob Brewin | NextGov | April 25, 2011

The Defense and Veterans Affairs departments will make the purchase of commercial software their first choice for development of a joint electronic health record, according to a March 25 internal memo signed by top officials in both departments.

The memo recaps a meeting between Defense Secretary Robert Gates and VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and said the two departments agreed on joint development and acquisition of a number of functional capabilities and applications for an integrated electronic health record. The departments have scheduled a follow-up meeting on May. 2....

...This emphasis on commercial software for the joint record appears to conflict with the open-source software approach backed by Shinseki and VA Chief Information Officer Roger Baker. On April 1, Shinseki said he backed an open-source approach to modernization of the Veterans Integrated System Technology Architecture, the department's current electronic health record.

Baker declined to say if there was a conflict between the open-source software approach backed by VA and the emphasis on commercial software in the March 25 memo, and referred questions to Defense.