DOD brainstorms new digital health record system

Discussion on acquisition, change management, data migration and other aspects of the new system is expected next year

The Defense Department is preparing for the next-generation Electronic Health Record Way Ahead  project with a study of alternatives to be discussed this month, an official said today.

A decision on how to proceed with acquisition, change management, data migration and other aspects of the new system is expected next year, Navy Capt. Michael Weiner, director of the EHRWA planning office for the Military Health System, said at the FedScoop’s FedTalks 2010 conference today.

The Defense Department deployed its digital medical system in 2000; upgrades to a new platform, known as AHLTA, completed in 2006. DOD began planning for EHRWA in 2009 -- as the White House and Congress started economic stimulus law funding to encourage digital medical system adoption nationwide.

“We want to change to a new electronic health record system,” Weiner said. “We hope to bring the nation with us and share the lessons learned.”

Related story:

DOD wants to scrap AHLTA after improvement efforts disappoint

The new system will handle about 70 terabytes of data for about 10 million service members and their families in multiple care settings, along with 77,000 clinical care givers. The system is likely to be a hybrid of military-owned infrastructure and commercial services, he said.

An initial meeting will be held on Oct. 29 to examine alternatives for the project, and acquisition, engineering, change management and clinical services.

The new system is likely to incorporate wireless devices, voice recognition to facilitate physician input into the system and a simple training regime.

“It should not take a neurosurgeon a week of training to operate an electronic health record system, when a six-year-old can get to the top level of [a computer game] in six hours,” Weiner said. He said the military is consulting with game engineers to make the training more intuitive.


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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Reader comments

Fri, Oct 22, 2010 Been There

To Stan...if we can do it...then let's just do it!!!!!!! To DOD: " "COME ON, MAN" !!!!!!!!!!!! (Try to remember that learning brings about a change in behavior. This should be your metric.)

Thu, Oct 21, 2010 stan meyers smithtown

To Been There: I agree with you that we could have achieved and can achieve electronic medical records. I find it interesting that you were an AF recruiter because the program that I mentioned was the Armed Forces Entrance and Examination System (AFEES) proposed in 1974-75 time frame. While we lost the program, we were told off the record, that our proposed system was superior then the winning proposal but was more expensive. I guess not since the ther system doesn't exist!!!!!

Wed, Oct 20, 2010 Been There

Stan and Paul...RE: Recruits. Having been both a AF Recruiter and an AHLTA SME I have some thoughts on this...There are about 65 MEPS, that recruiters funnel recruits and paperwork to and through. The recruiters, at least some, have laptops that could, if they don't, be loaded with the SF 93...completed in their office and emailed to the MEPS. Any medical records collected from the recruit/applicant could be scanned and sent along with the SF93...the MEPS could 'register' the recruit, create a AHLTA record and put all this data into Clinical Records Module ahead of the day of the Phy.Exam. This would help "start" the medical record of each new military member. This is/was NOT rocket science. We do have the technology, we could have done this and we still could do this. "COME ON, MAN" !!!!!!!!!!!!

Tue, Oct 19, 2010 Stan Meyers smithtown

In response to Paul, I do believe we have the current technology to satisfy many of the needs of the user community but based on your comment it certainly appears that there is no disciplined approach being applied to the gathering of the user information needs. In the late 1960s a group of us defined a set of user requirments for a Medical Information System and in the mid 1970s I was involved in responding to an AF RFP for a Medical Iformation System to track a recruits medical history prior to and throughout the recruits service career. This information was also to be used and updated for those veterans who were under the care of the VA. Unfortunately the low bidder was the winner and I don't believe the system was successfully implemented.

Tue, Oct 19, 2010 Been There

There has been PLENTY of 'input'. Over 10 years worth. That's not the problem. The problem is that those receiving the input have their own it a contracting company, one of the SG's, DOD or even the local IT shop. Everyone wants to protect their little empire. The real point of concern should be at the 'point of care'...where the provider meets the patient. "COME ON, MAN" !!!!!!!!!!!!

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