Army releases telehealth RFI

Shutterstock image. Copyright: hafakot

WHAT: A request for information from the Army Medical Department for acquiring an IT platform that would enable soldiers to remotely access health services.

WHY: Telehealth policy is on the move at the Defense Department, thanks to a February memo that authorized military personnel to receive health care services remotely via telephone and video. "A 'visit' no longer necessarily requires that a patient physically see their provider in person," Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Jonathan Woodson wrote.

His memo specified that virtual visits be conducted "on a secure, DOD-approved health information technology platform that meets the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act." The Army is following up on that directive and is interested in acquiring a "virtual visit" IT platform.

The RFI poses more than a dozen questions to interested contractors, including whether their IT platforms can communicate via alternate channels such as text messaging, whether the products are commercial off-the-shelf (meaning ready for use) and whether they have any minimum bandwidth requirements.

Vendors are also asked to describe how their IT platforms verify a patient's identity and ensure the integrity of data sent via telehealth applications.

Articles about the cybersecurity, or lack thereof, of medical devices and data have been in the news recently, including an apparent ransomware attack on MedStar Health hospitals in Maryland and the District of Columbia. In April 5 testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Adm. Michael Rogers, commander of U.S. Cyber Command, said the amount of personal information in health data means the health care sector is going to be a rich target for hackers.

Click here to read the RFI. Responses are due by April 14.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Apr 06, 2016 at 2:25 PM


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