DOD Health seeks new database for 8.9 million patients

DOD MHS EWS-R Database Conversion RFI

The Defense Department is seeking contractor help converting the scheduling and registration system of its Medical Health System (MHS) to a new database technology.

A Request for Information issued last week said the conversion of the MHS enterprisewide scheduling and registration system (EWS-R) will preserve the existing Composite Health Care System (CHCS) data, structures and business rules.

Stuart Baker, director for federal health care at Unisys, said this project is definitely a “big deal” as it will support scheduling and registration for the 8.9 million active duty and retired personnel in the MHS and will be a key component of the CHCS II system DOD is currently deploying to military hospitals worldwide.

MHS describes EWS-R as key to insuring this vast pool of beneficiaries are scheduled on time for dental appointments to surgeries. MHS says EWS-R will enhance access to care by assuring that “the right patient is scheduled with the right provider, at the right place and time, supported by the right staff and equipment.” EWS-R will automate and optimize medical and dental patient appointing and scheduling, operating room scheduling and management, and patient registration including admissions, discharges and transfers.

Baker added that while DOD has started to convert patient records from older data base technology in CHCS II, it has not yet started conversion of the patient registration and scheduling.

The Army Medical Research Activity issued the RFI for the MHS Resources and Information Technology Program Office. MHS wants to procure new database and application development technology that will allow automated conversion of the existing Massachusetts General Hospital Utility Multiprogramming Systems (MUMPS) database technology to new object oriented and relational technology, according to the RFI.

The new database technology will support a “full spectrum” of software development and messaging technologies, including Java, XML and Health Level 7, according to the RFI. MHS also wants a database that can run on a wide variety of operating systems including Windows, Linux, and Solaris/UNIX as well as support existing hardware, Alpha workstations running Open VMS.

More than one vendor contacted by FCW said, off the record, that the most likely candidate for the conversion work is InterSystems Corp. and its object-oriented Cache database. InterSystems has long-term experience with MUMPS in both DOD and the Department of Veterans Affairs. InterSystems declined to comment on the specifics of the database conversion RFI.

Neither MHS nor the Army Medical Research Activity returned calls from FCW seeking comment on the RFI. Responses to the RFI are due Sept. 9.


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