VA/DoD Health Records: It's the Data, Not the Software

Bob Brewin | NextGov | July 10, 2013

Top officials at the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments said Wednesday they will create a system to exchange standard clinical health data, which will allow the departments to develop a single, shared electronic health record without the need to build a joint system from scratch. The officials spoke at a joint hearing of the House Armed Services and Veterans Affairs Committees.

President Obama directed the two departments to develop an integrated electronic health record in April 2009, but the effort foundered earlier this year due to spiraling cost estimates, which had soared to $28 billion, Frank Kendall, Defense undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, told lawmakers.

Instead of pursuing an integrated health record, Kendall said Defense and VA will focus on developing and deploying a data management service to give clinicians from both departments access to patient health information viewable through a graphical interface by January 2014.

Kendall also disclosed that Defense has established a new office to purchase core systems to replace aging military health software, including the department’s primary electronic health record system, known as the Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application.


$28 Billion Price Tag

I was amazed to see the price tag for the proposed VA/DoD joint EHR system had soared to $28 billion. No wonder it died as the figures came to light.