Top News

A national security think tank’s report on military health system reform — written by former government officials General Hugh Shelton, Stephen Ondra, and Peter Levin, all of whom now work for corporations — says the DoD’s $4 billion AHTLA system has a “tortured history” of poor design and lack of interoperability with the VA, and despite President Obama’s specific instructions in 2009 for the departments to develop a joint EHR, “DoD has spent billions of dollars and still not fielded any newly integrated clinician-facing software.” The report adds that the DoD will spend more billions to buy a commercial system that may not serve it well, explaining:

Given the fast pace of technology changes, we hope that DoD will not repeat the mistaken multi-billion dollar decision that will hold it captive to the innovations of any single company or the services of a solitary vendor …DoD is about to procure another major electronic (health records) system that may not be able to stay current with – or even lead – the state-of-the-art, or work well with parallel systems in the public or private sector. We are concerned that a process that chooses a single commercial “winner,” closed and proprietary, will inevitably lead to vendor lock and health data isolation.

Hugh Shelton was formerly chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and is now chairman of Red Hat. Stephen Ondra, MD was a White House health information advisor and is now SVP/chief medical officer of insurance company Health Care Service Corporation. Peter Levin was CTO at the VA and now is CEO of Amida Technology Solutions, which offers applications built around Blue Button.

Reader Comments

From Camino Real: “Re: OpenNotes. Cerner will also be using it as the default.” I’m still interested to learn more about the technology changes required by EHR vendors and how the patient interacts with the EHR.

From Back to School: “Re: master’s in health informatics. I’m considering the online programs of UCF and USF, but neither is CAHIIM accredited and therefore I can’t sit for the RHIT exams. I’m not sure if that’s a necessary certification when pursuing a career. I would be interested to hear from someone who graduated from an online program.”

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Eighty-one percent of poll respondents are skeptical that Athenahealth can turn BIDMC’s homegrown WebOMR into a competitive commercial product. Ann commented that it’s hard to commercialize a system that was built for a specific organization and wonders how much effort Athenahealth will spend on requirements, design, and testing. Reluctant Epic User says the value to Athenahealth will be in using BIDMC’s …read more