PwC Team To Bid for Pentagon’s $11B EHR Modernization Contract

September 9, 2014 in News

On Friday, PricewaterhouseCoopers announced plans to submit a bid for an $11 billion Defense Healthcare Management Systems Modernization contract, Healthcare IT News reports (Monegain, Healthcare IT News, 9/8).

PWC said it would submit a joint bid for the project with:

  • DSS and MedSphere, electronic health record vendors that offer software modeled off of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ VistA EHR system; and
  • General Dynamics Information Technology, a systems integrator (Goedert, Health Data Management, 9/8).

Background

In February 2013, DOD and VA officials announced plans to halt a joint integrated electronic health record, or iEHR, project and instead focus on making their current EHR systems more interoperable.

In the effort to update its EHR system, DOD over the last year has:

  • Issued three draft requests for proposals;
  • Held four industry days;
  • Responded to more than 2,000 questions; and
  • Issued a final solicitation for bids.

As part of the project, DOD will replace the:

  • Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application, or AHLTA;
  • Composite Health Care System; and
  • Various EHR components (iHealthBeat, 8/27).

So far, three other teams of health IT and technology companies are competing for the DOD contract (Health Data Management, 9/8):

  • Computer Sciences Corp., a defense contractor and systems integrator, announced that it would partner with computer services firm Hewlett Packard and EHR developer Allscripts to compete for the contract;
  • IBM and EHR vendor Epic announced that they intend to offer a joint bid for DOD’s EHR contract; and
  • Cerner announced a partnership with government contractors Leidos and Accenture Federal Services to bid for the contract (iHealthBeat, 7/7).

In addition, VA has announced plans to submit a bid based off its VistA EHR system, although it has not yet done so, according to Health Data Management (Health Data Management, 9/8).

Bids for the DOD EHR contract will be accepted through Oct. 9, and a team of DOD civilians, military personnel and subject matter and procurement experts will evaluate the proposals.

The contract is expected to be awarded by the third quarter of 2015 (iHealthBeat, 8/27).

Details of PwC Joint Bid

According to Healthcare IT News, PwC’s joint bid proposes the creation of an “open architecture” EHR system by combining:

  • Open source software, including code from the Open Source Electronic Health Record Alliance; and
  • Commercial applications (Healthcare IT News, 9/8).

PwC said its open source system would improve integration between DOD and VA’s EHR systems and enhance access to EHR innovations (Health Data Management, 9/8).

Kelly Barnes, director of PwC’s health industries division, in a statement said, “Our approach fosters continued innovation and adaptability, without the need to be being ‘locked in’ to one technology” (Murphy, EHR Intelligence, 9/5).

Reaction

According to Health Data Management, “[T]he viability of the new PwC bid … could be tenuous” because DOD has repeatedly passed on adopting VA’s VistA EHR system, upon which DSS and MedSphere base their commercial systems. In addition, the group bid might not be able to scale its efforts as much as the other companies competing for the contract.

However, Health Data Management noted that DSS and MedSphere’s vast experience with VA’s VistA technology, with which DOD’s new EHR system will need to integrate, could be an advantage to the group (Health Data Management, 9/8).

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