PwC has recently announced that Google will be joining its bid for the Defense Department’s contract to modernize its electronic health records. This contract could be worth as much as $11 billion through 2023.

The Department of Defense has been evaluating bids since October 2014 following a year of preparation by the Pentagon. The Pentagon plans to replace its current health records systems, the Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Application, with a commercial EHR system to cover its 10 million beneficiaries.

The Department of Defense is one of the largest healthcare providers in the country. However, its current system has suffered from problems of interoperability with commercial systems. Considering almost half of its beneficiaries receive care outside of their network, this has been a major concern.

Lawmakers have been putting pressure on the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs to achieve interoperability between the two systems. However, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office, reports sent to Congress satisfied only one of the six conditions placed on the project.

Google is known for its groundbreaking contributions in secure and open technology, making it the perfect complement to PwC’s open-architecture solution. By including Google in their bid, PwC will be able to add value, strength, and flexibility to the new Military Health System. Google will provide services such as cloud, storage, security, networking, and search capabilities.

For example, a doctor could request all the information on patients with post-traumatic stress disorder and then identify any correlations between patients with the disorder, or other factors that led to an improvement or decline in the patient’s health.

Google isn’t the only company that has agreed to help with the bid to modernize this EHR software. MedicaSoft, General Dynamics Information Technology, DSS, Inc. and Medsphere Systems Corporation are also backing PwC.

Competition for the contract is growing. In order to reinforce their bid, IBM and Epic have created an advisory group. This group, composed of industry experts, will allow participants to share their combined experience in governance, research, interoperability, population health, online patient self-service and more.

Other bidders include Computer Sciences Corp., who has united with HP and EHR software developer Allscripts, and EHR vendor Cerner, who has joined forces with Leidos, Intermountain Healthcare, and Accenture Federal.

According to a Feb. 19 notice, there are only bids from three teams remaining. The EHR contract is expected to be awarded in June of this year.

Author: Lauren Daniels

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