The U.S. State Department has issued a request for information for a new electronic health records system, following a failed 2015 EHR implementation with the U.S. Coast Guard.

The purpose of the State Department’s RFI is to conduct market research and to “identify vendors capable of performing the functions” of the new system, including meeting Meaningful Use and HIPAA requirements.

In 2010, the U.S. Coast Guard initiated an effort to replace its aging EHR systems with the Integrated Health Information System (IHiS). At the time that plans for the IHiS project were being put together, the State Department was also planning to develop an EHR system.

To reduce the overall costs to both agencies, the State Department in 2012 signed an interagency agreement with the Coast Guard to utilize IHiS. The system was to be implemented in phases with beta testing at Coast Guard clinics in 2015, and then subsequent implementation at the other clinics and State Department locations.

However, the Coast Guard decided to terminate the IHiS project in October 2015 because of financial, technical, schedule and personnel risks, according to a January 2018 Government Accountability Office audit.

Also See: Coast Guard goes back to drawing board with new EHR

Now, the State Department is looking to go its own way with an RFI that will help the agency conduct an “analysis of alternatives” for a possible future EHR acquisition.

The system would support the State Department’s Bureau of Medical Services (MED), which has more than 200 clinicians working in over 170 countries and provides healthcare to U.S. government employees and their families assigned to embassies and consulates worldwide.

In particular, the State Department is interested getting answers from EHR vendors to the following questions:

  • What additional information would your company find most helpful in order to develop and submit a technical and price proposal for this requirement for a best value award?
  • What is the best contract type for the government to take advantage of a development, conversion and EHR implementation project?
  • What is the best contract type that will allow vendors to be able to scale up and scale down requirements as technology advances are approved for use by the State Department?

“This notice is issued solely for information and planning purposes and does not constitute a request for proposal (RFP) or a commitment on the part of the government to conduct a solicitation,” states the RFI.

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