Oversight

Watchdog: Defense health IT upgrade risks delays

Shutterstock image: monitoring factors of healthcare.

The Defense Healthcare Management System Modernization program could miss its first operational deadline.

"The DHMSM program mandated execution schedule may not be realistic for meeting the required initial operational capability date of December 2016," the Defense Department's inspector general said in a May 31 audit report.

In July 2015, DOD signed a $4.3 billion deal for a health records modernization push to the team of Leidos, Accenture and Cerner. The contract is expected to cost $11 billion over its life cycle. The losing bidders did not protest the award.

The IG report notes that DOD conducted a risk mitigation sweep, but the project could still be delayed by security concerns, the need for user training and the challenge of getting new interfaces working properly with legacy systems.

The Leidos team touted interoperability and familiarity with military health IT ahead of last year's contract award. In its former incarnation as part of SAIC, Leidos designed the Composite Health Care System now in use at military hospitals and treatment centers. Leidos also runs one of the military's current electronic health records, the Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application.

"We're very well acquainted with the infrastructure that exists," Jerry Hogge, deputy group president at Leidos Health Solutions Group, told FCW in 2014.

The DOD IG recommended that the Program Executive Office for Defense Healthcare Management Systems conduct a schedule analysis to assess DHMSM's potential for setbacks.

Officials did not agree or disagree with that recommendation, the IG said.

"The program office is confident that it will achieve initial operational capability later this year in accordance with the National Defense Authorization Act," the IG's report states. "However, the program executive officer did not provide documentation to support his statement."

DOD officials did not immediately return a request for comment.

The full IG report is a limited-distribution document designated as "for official use only." FCW has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the full report.

About the Author

Zach Noble is a staff writer covering digital citizen services, workforce issues and a range of civilian federal agencies.

Before joining FCW in 2015, Noble served as assistant editor at the viral news site TheBlaze, where he wrote a mix of business, political and breaking news stories and managed weekend news coverage. He has also written for online and print publications including The Washington Free Beacon, The Santa Barbara News-Press, The Federalist and Washington Technology.

Noble is a graduate of Saint Vincent College, where he studied English, economics and mathematics.

Click here for previous articles by Noble, or connect with him on Twitter: @thezachnoble.


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