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General Dynamics And McKesson Receive Contracts to Assist Department of Defense Health Systems to Include AHLTA and Vista-How M

Posted Feb 09 2011 2:54pm

Every time you turn around we keep hearing of yet another new contract for the VA and DOD and here’s more.  Are they going to give up on their own and get one from McKesson?  In the meantime there’s a lot of development going on with VistA too, so this is incredibly confusing and seems like there’s a big lack of decision collaboration from what I read.  Just last week a report came out that the 2 agencies are not working well together so I’m just curious is this the answer to throw out some more contracts and bring more outside vendors.  Epic is already in here to a degree too with the Coast Guard. 

Of course not being there I really don’t know exactly what is going on but from what I read this looks like there’s nobody at the helm here with a collaborated over all focus.  A short while back I wrote about the lack of collaboration fouling up the US healthcare system in the IT area and this sure looks like we have a case of that here with politics muddying up the water. 

Innovation Without Collaboration Is Fouling Up The US Healthcare IT System–We Need Both As We Can’t Stand on Innovation Alone

The revamp is needed they said to support the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) initiative and make it easier to exchange patient data.  So now what?  Does this project become obsolete or back burnered?  The Coast Guard just invested in a system from EPIC to also make use of the VLER program, again everyone needs to be able to exchange information.  What is interesting too is that both EPIC and Vista use the MUMPS back end to store data.  I can understand wanting a web based application as it will save installing a lot of software too and make it easier to access.  So now how about this work on the VLER and the ability of Veterans to download their medical records? 

$91 Million Prime Contract Awarded to Support Medical Record Sharing Veterans Affairs Beneficiaries–VLER-Lifetime Virtual Electronic Record Program– VA and DOD

Is this a battle of the vendors here as the VA is now doing business with Ingenix, a division of United Healthcare and now not to be outdone, other want a piece of the action too? 

Picis before the acquisition by Ingenix already had many hospital installations so it image appears this is to be one more area of revenue generation for Ingenix, a wholly owned subsidiary of United Healthcare.  During the last year Ingenix purchases several additional technology companies and Picis was one of them. 

If anyone has any thoughts on all of this, please comment as I see this as a big mess without structured goals other than to make money. Its bizarre too in the fact that you see others in private industry seeing value in the VistA system and are commercializing it for use in the  commercial world, so again I ask, what’s the deal here?  BD 

Pharmaceutical wholesaler and healthcare IT systems developer McKesson Corp. and defense contractor General Dynamics Corp. plan to team up in hopes of winning business from the Defense Department's Military Health System.
According to a news release, General Dynamics Information Technology, a Fairfax, Va.-based arm of General Dynamics, has entered into a letter of intent with McKesson Provider Technologies, a division of San Francisco-based McKesson, to "collaborate in offering an electronic health-record product known as the 'Way Ahead' " to the Defense Department.
Currently, the military is served by multiple electronic health-record systems, including the troubled $4 billion AHLTA system for outpatient care as well as the much older Composite Health Care System used in many of its hospitals. The CHCS is a $1.1 billion derivative of the IT system, now called VistA, developed by the Veterans Affairs Department.

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