DoD to Participate in VA Selection of Open Source 'Custodial Agent'

David Perera | Fierce Government IT | May 3, 2011

The Defense Department will participate in the Veterans Affairs Department's source selection of a "custodial agent" meant to set up a moderated open source electronic health record development ecosystem, VA and DoD representatives said May 3.

The secretaries of both departments met May 2 to discuss differences in approaches to a joint EHR, the creation of which VA Secretary Eric Shinseki announced March 31. Since then, however, possible disagreements between the two departments have surfaced over whether the joint solution should be open source or proprietary and possibly over the extent to which it would be a standards-based affair or actual shared application.

The VA released a draft solicitation April 1 for a contractor to oversee open source development of EHR capabilities; VA officials have said they want to "refactor" as much of their existing EHR code base, which is programmed in MUMPS, as possible.