How the DOD's choice of EHR will impact providers

Heather Caspi | HelthcareDIVE | February 19, 2015

As the Department of Defense prepares to select a new electronic health record system, some are advocating that it go with an open-source solution—not just to benefit of the DOD but to use the $11-billion program to benefit the healthcare industry at large.

In a new report released by the Center for New American Security titled "Reforming the Military Health System," the authors argue that the selection of a closed, proprietary system would trap the DOD into vendor lock, health data isolation and a long-term contract with technology that will age rather than evolve. Co-author Stephen L. Ondra, a former senior advisor for health information in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, tells Healthcare Dive that an open-source solution could more easily adapt to meet future modernization and interoperability needs, and could more creatively be tailored to the DOD's requirements.

Ondra says most commercial EHR systems are developed around the fee-for-service revenue cycle, a model that is not particularly relevant to the DOD and its healthcare system. He says an EHR for the DOD should be focused on the clinical care management aspect of these programs, which would require lengthy and expensive modification.

He argues that a proprietary system would be inadequate as it would leave the DOD with a single vendor's solutions. "You don't have some of the creativity and innovation that an open source system would have because you're limited to a single vendor’s view and skills," Ondra says. In addition, he notes, proprietary systems have less incentive to provide interoperability solutions because their business model aims to lock people into using that particular system...