Wisconsin lawmakers urge single vendor for VA, DOD health records upgrade

Single-vendor approach at odds with VA's plans for open source development

A group of Wisconsin lawmakers is urging the Veterans Affairs and Defense departments to consider using a single commercial vendor to handle their digital health records because that approach would be faster to deploy, more efficient and better for patient safety, according to a report today by Nextgov.

If VA and DOD accept that recommendation, it potentially could cause a delay in current plans for integration and modernization of VA and DOD record systems. It also could benefit medical record system solutions provider Epic Systems Corp. of Verona, Wisconsin. With 4,200 workers, it is one of Wisconsin’s largest employers.

Both Wisconsin senators, Democrat Herb Kohl and Republican Ron Johnson, along with three congressional representatives, wrote to VA and Defense officials on Feb. 7 asking if the benefits of using a single commercial records system had received “appropriate consideration” as the two departments modernize and integrate their medical records systems.

Nextgov released a copy of the letter in its report.

Related articles:

VA considers open source ecosystem for VistA

DOD, VA prepare recommendation for joint EHR for late March, officials say


About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

Reader Comments

Mon, May 9, 2011

As soon as Epic (or any other EHR Developer with their technology solution) can demonstrate where it has created an "around the world", cross-time zone, fully sharing instance of their legacy MUMPS based systems, then such consideration as the elected officials asked for should be granted. As they have not... Well, it sounds like another multi-Billion dollar bad deal boondoggle for the taxpayers, recommended by know-nothing lawmakers that have neither the qualifications nor the expertise to be making such acquisition inquires to any agency.

Thu, Mar 24, 2011 Res

The Congressmen aren't talking 'single source', they are talking 'sole source' which while it may or may not be faster to deploy, more efficient and better for patient safety, it certainly will be more lucrative for the State of Wisconsin, and defintely more politically lucrative for the careers of the Congressmen when it comes time for re-election. However, long term, it may prove to be more costly as they will have eliminated any competition, now or in the future, and DoD/VA will be at the mercy of the vendor when it comes time to re-negotiate any ongoing maintenance (similar to what has occured with Lockhead Martin and their support of the Defense Civilian Personnel Data System (DCPDS)). On the other hand, if I lived in Wisconsin I would expect my representatives to support any effort that would bring work in to the state.

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