A year ago, the Defense Health Agency (DHA), at that time a year old, was slowly coming into its own. Fast forward to the present and DHA is indeed in the middle of some of the biggest IT initiatives the Military Health System (MHS) has ever seen.
At the recent Defense Health Information Technology Symposium in Orlando, FL, three focus areas emerged which will shape DOD’s investments in health IT over the next decade – namely, a new EHR, improving cybersecurity and consolidating infrastructure.
Before we explore these priorities it’s important to note that the MHS is made up of more than just DHA. In fact, it’s best to look at the MHS as the sum of three parts:
1. Program Executive Office for Defense Health Management Systems: PEO-DHMS (or “DIMS”) is home to the new $9 billion electronic health record system (EHR) as well as battlefield medical IT systems
2. Defense Health Agency: This is ultimately where the vast majority of IT programs will reside under one roof
3. Service Branches: Army, Air Force, and Navy/MC have their own medical commands and still control about half of the Defense health IT budget
In addition to the ongoing transition of IT projects and portfolios into DHA, the overall MHS has recently seen a flurry of major contracting activity and purchasing of IT products centered around the three IT priorities mentioned above.