This could add another layer of complication to a process that already has three key players.
That’s what the Veterans Affairs Department sort of plans for the $4 billion integrated electronic health record it expects to develop with the Defense Department by 2017, based on language squirreled away inside procurement documents it released last week for a joint pharmacy system .
I say “sort of” because VA said it plans to use an integrator only for the multiple pieces of commercial software -- such as the pharmacy system -- it anticipates using for the iEHR, but by implication not for open source software packages touted for the project by VA Chief Information Officer Roger Baker. Does this mean those open source packages will remain un-integrated?
Analysts who follow the federal IT market tell me that hiring an integrator will ensure all the parts of the system will work well together, but I wonder if this just adds another layer of complication to a process that already has three key players -- Defense, VA and the Interagency Program Office, which is supposed to manage the whole operation.
This may end up as an exercise that channels a lot of money to a contractor that could end up delaying iEHR development.