The U.S Department of Health and Human Services announced this week that the Indian Health Service has opted to replace its existing 40-year-old patient record system with new technology, developed and deployed by Oracle and General Dynamics.
WHY IT MATTERS
HHS has chosen General Dynamics Information Technology to “build, configure, and maintain” a new electronic health record system for IHS based around Oracle Cerner technology, the agency said.
The new EHR will replace IHS’ decades-old Resource and Patient Management System, which is based on homegrown VistA technology and is used for health system tasks from intake and patient registration to insurance billing.
This updated system modernizes IHS’ health care delivery and operations, making it easier for patients and providers to access updated and accurate information when they need it.
IHS made the selection after a “detailed and rigorous” acquisition process that was open to all vendors, and coordinated with tribal and urban Indian organization partners throughout the process – engaging in listening sessions and advisory committee meetings while engaging tribal, urban Indian and IHS system users in vendor product demonstrations.
The 10-year, $2.5 billion IHS Health Information Technology Modernization Program with General Dynamics and Oracle Cerner is meant to help the health service “improve patient safety and outcomes, clinical quality measures, agency performance reporting and disease management,” according to IHS, while enabling accurate and complete insurance reimbursement.
These enhancements will occur largely due to the increased accessibility of secure data across the enterprise by clinicians, patients, payers and other partners.
“This is a major milestone in our work to deliver quality modern health care to American Indians and Alaska Natives,” said IHS Director Roselyn Tso in a statement. “With the new EHR system, patients will have better access to their own health information, providers can more effectively coordinate patient care in and out of our network, and we can better track the health of tribal communities overall.”
THE LARGER TREND
The IHS provides a comprehensive health service delivery system for approximately 2.8 million American Indians and Alaska Natives who belong to 574 federally recognized tribes in 37 states.
By choosing Oracle Cerner for its new EHR, it is opting to move forward with similar technology to that deployed by other major federal agencies, including the Defense Health Agency and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which is hoping to get back on track soon with its recently-renegotiated EHR modernization effort.
ON THE RECORD
“We are ready and eager to move forward with the enterprise EHR with our partners,” added IHS Chief Information Officer and Director for the Office of Information Technology Mitchell Thornbrugh. “It is time to replace our current system and ensure that IHS is keeping pace with technological advances across the health care delivery system.
“This modernization – and the technology that drives it – will impact every part of our health care delivery,” he added. “Most importantly, the new EHR will enable patients and their providers to have updated and accurate information to make the best healthcare decisions.”
Mike Miliard is executive editor of Healthcare IT News
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Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS publication.