The Defense-VA-Vendor Conference Nobody Wants You to Know About

Bob Brewin | Nextgov | May 1, 2013

An outfit called the Defense Strategies Institute will hold a conference in Alexandria, Va., May 15-16 on the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments’ planned integrated electronic health record featuring high ranking speakers from both departments. Any vendor who wants to attend can do so. But the media will be prohibited.

Why no press coverage of a discussion that affects every member of the military and millions of veterans? Luis Hernandez, senior partner at New York City-based Defense Strategies told me yesterday that his company assured federal speakers ahead of time that the iEHR conference would be a media-free zone and that this in turn would help foster “dialogue” between government and industry.

As a skeptic, I have to wonder exactly what kind of “dialogue” is helped by not having the press present, even though I understand my presence at the conference may equal that of the proverbial skunk at the garden party. Hernandez also told me that I probably would not be interested in covering the conference as a lot of it would be down into the technical “weeds” -- a topic I told him I’m especially interested in. In fact, if I got any deeper into the iEHR technical weeds, I’d be a digital dandelion...