After two attempts over 13 years, the Department of Defense has still not succeeded in implementing a comprehensive, integrated electronic health record covering the continuum of care across the Military Health System.

Now, as DOD readies a third try, the weaknesses in acquisition management and planning processes that hindered the first two attempts remain, according to the General Accountability Office, an investigatory arm of Congress.

DOD's previous EHR attempts were the Composite Health Care System and the Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application (AHLTA). Only one of four phases of AHLTA has been fully deployed and the third and fourth phases have been cancelled as DOD again seeks a new EHR.

"As DOD continues to invest significant resources in a stabilization effort to address shortcomings of AHLTA and plan for the acquisition of a new electronic health record system, it is imperative that the department take immediate steps to improve its management of the initiative," according to GAO in a letter to the Senate Budget Committee. "Until it does so, it risks a continuation of the problems it has already experienced, which could again prevent DOD from delivering a comprehensive health record system for serving its service members and their families."

Full text of the GAO report is available at gao.gov//new.items/d1150.pdf.

--Joseph Goedert

 

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