HHS Awards Contracts to Four Companies To Develop Electronic Health Records Systems
HHS on Thursday awarded four contracts valued at a combined $18.6 million for the development of electronic health records systems in 12 U.S. regions that will serve as models for the nation, the New York Times reports. Under the contracts, Accenture, Computer Sciences, IBM and Northrop Grumman each will develop EHR systems for three regions over the next year. The companies must establish personal EHRs and provide physicians with affordable online access to patient records, diagnostic information and billing. The EHR systems also will improve efforts to monitor and respond to public health emergencies such as disease epidemics or bioterrorist attacks. The companies can use different technologies in their EHR systems, but all of the systems must remain compatible (Lohr, New York Times, 11/11).
Accenture will operate in Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia, and Computer Sciences will operate in California, Indiana and Massachusetts. IBM will operate in New York and North Carolina, and Northrop Grumman will operate in California and Ohio (Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times, 11/11). According to the New York Times, the $18.6 million is "a fraction of the investment" that the companies will have to spend to develop the EHR systems, but "competition for the four contracts was fierce because the winners may have an early lead in the market."
National Coordinator for Health Information Technology David Brailer said, "This is a hands-off government approach. We're not operating these networks, and we're not procuring them." Brailer said he hopes that the four contracts will "guide further investment over the next several years," adding, "We want to stimulate a lot of capital investment" (New York Times, 11/11).
Robert Cothren, chief scientist for the Northrop Grumman Information Technology sector, said, "This is part of a larger effort to develop electronic health records and enable the exchange of electronic health information between institutions in each of these areas" (Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times, 11/11).