DoD bails on health record project

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DoD bails on health record project

I did a post two months ago noting that "seemless transition" was predicated on the VA and DoD systems speaking the same language.  At the time, DoD and Va had spent virtual boatloads of money, and had pretty much nothing to show for it.  As I noted there:

 Things happen, I’m sure the government put its top men and women on remedying the identified deficiency.  TOP MEN AND WOMEN!  Done deal, let’s move on.

Nah, just kidding, they still haven’t accomplished anything on it.  In fact, if you look at the troop leading procedures above, the VA and DoD haven’t even started a Reconnoiter yet, as both admit that neither department has even bothered to take a look at the other Department’s system.... years after identifying an existing problem, the VA and the DoD haven’t even compared or looked at the systems that each have to see if it might work better than what they have.

Tom Philpot has an update for us today on half that equation:

After five years and an estimated $1 billion spent trying to build a single integrated electronic health record system with the Department of Veterans Affairs, defense health officials have been taken off the project, sources confirm.

Wielding the hook was Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who signaled disappointment with his management team to a House panel this month, saying he halted a solicitation for bids from commercial electronic record designers because  'I didn't think we knew what the hell we were doing. '


A cloud of confusion descended on the effort to create a single e-record system after an awkward joint announcement in February by departing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. Panetta suggested development of a single system had grown unaffordable and some  'quick wins ' were needed to show progress on seamless transfer of electronic medical files of veterans moving from military to VA care.

Rather than build a customized system  'from scratch, ' Panetta said, the VA would keep but improve its popular record system, Vista, and electronic military health data would gain interoperability with VA by deploying an existing commercial software solution  'as quickly as possible. '

So, is it better to have bailed on the $1 billion project when it wasn't moving anywhere, or should they have pushed on?  I hate wasting $1 billion, but I have wasting $2 billion even more.



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Hagel stopped them because 'I didn't think we knew what the hell we were doing.' When has that ever stopped them before?

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.