VA takes next steps on digital health record system

After a two-month hiatus due to a contract termination, the Veterans Affairs and Defense departments have resumed work on their integrated Electronic Health Record system with a new contract.

The two departments committed last year to create a seamless record for each service member from enlistment through retirement based on a joint platform.

However, the VA canceled its first major contract for the joint system development in February shortly after it was awarded. The VA confirmed at the time it had canceled the $102 million contract with ASM Research. A report by NextGov suggested that concerns about a possible organizational conflict of interest were behind the cancellation.


Related stories:

VA abruptly cancels joint record platform contract

VA and DOD plan to deliver common interface for joint EHR by July


On April 26, Harris Healthcare Solutions announced that it had received an $80 million contract to develop service-oriented architecture to help integrate the VA-DOD electronic health records. An industry source said the contract was for the same work that would have been performed under the previously canceled contract. VA officials were not immediately available.

Under the new award, Harris will provide an architecture and joint execution strategy for the two agencies. The architecture solution will serve as a platform to which legacy systems and applications would be migrated.

Harris plans to deploy a common federated middleware as a secure, virtualized infrastructure allowing use of cloud computing services for all VA and Defense health IT systems.

Harris officials said the company hopes to develop a demonstration site by September 2012, with full site deployment slated for August 2013 and full release by early 2014.

“The VA/DOD electronic health record project promotes health information sharing across the full spectrum of military service—from active to retired service duty,” said Jim Traficant, president, Harris Healthcare Solutions. “The SOA Suite architecture will create an enabling platform for unprecedented integration and communications to ensure a continuum of care across a service member’s lifetime.”

The contract awarded to Harris is part of the VA's T4 (Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology) contract vehicle. Harris was one of 15 prime contractors selected for T4 in September 2011.



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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