Google Is Working With PwC’s Team on Defense EHR Contract Bid

January 15, 2015 in News

On Thursday, PricewaterhouseCoopers announced that Google is part of its team bidding on the Department of Defense’s electronic health record modernization contract, Modern Healthcare reports (Tahir, Modern Healthcare, 1/15).

Background

In February 2013, DOD and Department of Veterans Affairs officials announced plans to halt a joint integrated EHR, or iEHR system, and instead focus on making their current EHR systems more interoperable.

In August 2014, DOD issued a final solicitation for bids for the $11 billion Defense Healthcare Management Systems Modernization contract, with Oct. 31, 2014, as the final date to submit proposals. A team of DOD civilians, military personnel and subject matter and procurement experts are evaluating the proposals.

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, including AHLTA-Theater.

In addition to the PricewaterhouseCoopers team — which also consists of General Dynamics Information Technology, DSS and MedSphere — groups competing for the contract include:

  • A team that includes Computer Sciences Corp., a defense contractor and systems integrator, Hewlett Packard, a computer services firm, and EHR developer Allscripts;
  • A team that includes EHR vendor Cerner, Leidos — a government systems integrator — and Accenture Federal; and
  • A team that includes IBM and EHR vendor Epic, which recently unveiled a new advisory group.

DOD officials plan to make a decision on the contract by June (iHealthBeat, 1/9).

PwC, Google Partnership Details

PwC is offering an open-source solution based on VA’s EHR system, VistA. A PwC spokesperson said that Google’s private cloud and collaboration tools could bolster security and the system’s speed, while keeping costs down (Mazmanian, FCW, 1/14).

Specifically, Dan Garrett, health IT practice leader at PwC, said that Google would provide infrastructure services, including:

  • Cloud;
  • Enterprise search capabilities;
  • Networking;
  • Security; and
  • Storage.

Garret said that Google’s search services will improve providers’ ability to query EHR data. For example, a doctor could search the system for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder, and then search for associations between patients diagnosed with PTSD and certain conditions (Modern Healthcare, 1/15).

Reaction

Dan Haley, vice president for government affairs at athenahealth, said that Google’s involvement could be “paradigm-shifting.” Athenahealth dropped out of the DOD bidding process after its partner, Cerner, announced it was buying Siemens.

Peter Levin — former CTO of VA and president of Amida, a technology company — said, “Google brings a development discipline and an implementation framework that will be immensely beneficial.” He added, “There’s nobody on the planet that can do with data what Google can do with data” (Gold, Politico Pro, 1/15).

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