Will Watson Help Solve The Mystery Of The Missing DOD EHR?

Jennifer Bresnick | EHR Intelligence | April 24, 2014

As the Department of Defense edges closer to choosing one lucky vendor to support its planned department-wide EHR system, IBM is doing some strategic shifting of its own by adding technology from its Watson supercomputer to its federal health care repertoire.  With a new request for information (RFI) released by the DOD, asking for details about infrastructure requirements to replace its aging ALHTA system, the department is putting a contract valued around $11 billion up for grabs.  Meanwhile, IBM has named a new Chief Medical Information Officer for its federal health division: Dr. Keith Salzman, whose long experience in government contracting and Army medical facilities may give Big Blue an edge to scoop up the DOD’s biggest health IT project in years.

Watson’s current forays into the healthcare sphere have focused mostly on clinical decision support, not record keeping, but IBM does dabble in EHR software with its Wellness Connection EHR from BlueWare.  “You have to bring a lot to the table in federal health care,” Andrew Maner, IBM’s managing partner for its U.S. federal division, said to Bloomberg. “Watson is not going to implement an electronic medical-records solution, but it can be used to make clinicians better or more efficient.”