Military Health System approves strategic plan for IT

MHS sets goals for enterprise architecture, electronic health records

The Defense Department’s top goals for health information technology in the next five years are to redesign the Military Health System’s IT architecture and to create a robust electronic health record (EHR) for every service member, according to the system's new IT strategic plan for 2010 to 2015.

Overall, the Military Health System’s Information Management/Information Technology Strategic Plan approved last week sets 10 goals, according to a news release of Jan. 15. Updating the system's enterprise architecture and developing a digital record for every service member are described as the predominant goals.

Other items on the agenda include making the digital records easily available to patients and providing what's called "enterprise intelligence," which involves collecting, sharing and analyzing health data to improve the quality of care.

“Our architecture must enable responsive and reliable solutions and rapid delivery of new capabilities,” the plan states. “Our EHR needs to be intuitive, aggregate data for each patient over time and across providers, operate in all care settings, and allow sharing of information with our health partners. As we make progress on these top two goals, we will be able to pursue two other important goals, the Personal Health Agenda and Enterprise Intelligence.”

The plan includes goals to strategically focus on health IT governance and interoperability, which includes developing a Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record in conjunction with the Veterans Affairs Department. The military health system also set goals for maximizing the IT portfolio value, using innovative technologies, managing human capital and engaging in distributed development.

The plan was developed in 2009 by military health system’s Office of the Chief Information Officer as well as leaders in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Health Affairs, TRICARE Management Activity, Joint Chiefs of Staff and Joint Task Force National Capital Region. The plan will be reviewed on an annual basis.

In addition to setting 10 strategic goals, the plan outlines detailed objectives, performance measures and a matrix for how the projects will be developed.

DOD and VA currently are developing pilot projects in communities to advance the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record collaboration. The departments recently advertised for an expert who can analyze whether those pilot projects are achieving the mission.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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