A plan to have the first phase of a new military health care information technology system operational by Dec. 31 was thrown in doubt this week by a government report.
The Defense Department’s Office of the Inspector General said the “mandated execution schedule may not be realistic” for the Defense Department’s Healthcare Management System Modernization contract.
A team composed of Cerner, Leidos and Accenture won the contract in mid-2015 to upgrade the military’s health care information technology program.
The inspector general’s report cited security concerns — to ensure that the new system isn’t vulnerable to cyberattacks — and operational training as reasons there could be delays in meeting the Dec. 31 deadline.
It also said there were “risks and potential delays involved in developing and testing the interfaces needed to interact with” existing IT systems.
The 2014 National Defense Authorization Act assigned the initial phase deadline before the contract was awarded.
Cerner’s team is undertaking a multiyear overhaul of the entire health IT system used by U.S. military members and their families under a contract estimated at $9 billion. The pilot rollout is for military facilities in the Puget Sound region of the Pacific Northwest.
The top official in charge of the health IT program’s management expressed confidence in reaching first-phase operational status by Dec. 31. But the inspector general pursued a “schedule analysis” request to determine if the deadline is attainable.
Cerner president Zane Burke told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting last week in Kansas City that the contract’s initial phase will “go live” at the end of the year.
“We’ve been heads down in collaboration with the DoD and the Leidos partnership and continue to move the project forward,” said Cerner spokesman Dan Smith on Thursday afternoon. “The first of the pilot go-lives are on track to be deployed by the end of the year.”