DOD readies health services RFP

The Defense Department plans to issue a request for proposals next month for a potential billion-dollar follow-on to an existing medical systems contract that will make military patient records in DOD's sprawling health care network electronically accessible from anywhere in the world.

DOD's health affairs division will issue the RFP for the contract - known as the Defense Medical Information Management/Systems Integration Design Development Operations and Maintenance Services II (D/SIDDOMS II) - to provide total solutions including hardware software and services.

The program will move the military toward a one-stop information shop for patients' medical histories including lab results X-rays immunization records drug histories and other personal data. A lack of electronic access to soldiers' complete medical histories sometimes has meant having to move patients from military operations - such as Bosnia or Somalia where doctors have no access to medical data - to distant medical centers. Information about DOD's medical resources also will be included.

The contract will replace D/SIDDOMS I awarded in March 1995 to Northrop Grumman Corp. PRC Inc. (now Litton/PRC) Science Applications International Corp. Electronic Data Systems Corp. and American Management Systems Inc. That contract was designed to be a five-year $398 million project to integrate DOD's health systems.

But DOD has reached its spending limit on the contract and the health affairs division has nearly quadrupled the value of the contract to between $1 billion and $1.5 billion according to a source familiar with the procurement.

Key to D/SIDDOMS II which is scheduled for award by early fiscal 1998 is the need to make systems interoperable so that patient information can be shared readily and across great distances. DOD medical workers will be able to access complete patient records from anywhere in the world via a single source rather than maneuvering through several stovepipe systems.

The arrangement allows DOD to treat patients by moving information not people said Debra Del Mar director of business strategy for AMS which plans to bid on D/SIDDOMS II as do the other four incumbents.DOD supports a health care network that includes more than 100 hospitals and clinics and more than 500 medical centers worldwide. DOD has about a half-dozen computer systems groups encompassing clinical systems medical logistics systems resources systems infrastructure and theater requirements and corporate/executive information systems with patient-level information.

The work on those systems groups will vary because DOD's medical treatment centers range from small offices with a few workstations and dial-in communications to hospitals with extensive local-area networks and external links.

The new procurement will allow DOD to purge itself of some cumbersome mainframe systems and move information to more nimble client/server environments.

D/SIDDOMS II will be awarded in four lots of multiple indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity contracts for use by all DOD health operations:

~Lot I includes functional requirements analysis business process engineering information/data engineering functional architecture development data standardization support functional configuration management system performance metrics system review and oversight and system monitoring.

~Lot II includes systems analysis technical architecture development integration of systems and subsystems global engineering of complex systems software integration engineering technical/engineering/management support system audits and monitoring system review and oversight system validation hardware engineering and development and implementation of shared databases.

~Lot III includes systems analysis training support system deployment and implementation database design and development data acquisition support customer support network design and implementation conversion support system design and development and systems operations and maintenance support for hardware and software

~Lot IV a small-business set-aside includes market surveys product acquisition for test and evaluation product acquisition for deployment and workgroup and team facilitation.

As DOD officials sort through the lots officials will look for ways to save money including finding ready-made solutions said Elizabeth Gray Smith EDS' director of business development for federal health care. "I think the government is moving more and more to looking for commercial off-the-shelf solutions " she said.In addition DOD will seek a more diverse mix of contractors to find companies that specialize in niche areas that can ease the pressure on DOD's budget.

"What they're doing is trying to expand the scope and the number of contractors " Smith said. EDS was the sole-source contractor for SIDDOMS a $130 million procurement that ran from December 1989 to March 1995 and was the precursor to D/SIDDOMS I.

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