Healthcare IT Leaders Teams with IBM, Epic for DHMSM Initiative

IBM - EpicThe Department of Defense (DoD) is just months away from awarding an $11 billion contract to upgrade and modernize its EHR system and healthcare IT infrastructure, an initiative known as Defense Healthcare Management System Modernization (DHMSM).

The project will replace the legacy inpatient and outpatient EHR of the Military Health System, currently utilized by the beneficiaries, health care providers, and managers of the Army, Navy and Air Force Military Treatment Facilities and clinics.

The goal of the project, according to budget documents, is to “enable healthcare teams to deliver high-quality, safe care and preventive services to patients through the use of easily accessible standards-based computerized patient records resulting in:  improved accuracy of diagnoses and impact on health outcomes; increased patient participation in the healthcare process; improved patient-centered care coordination; and increased practice efficiencies in all settings, including operational environments.”

Multiple teams are being evaluated for the DHMSM contract including an IBM and Epic-led team that includes Healthcare IT Leaders, among other consultancies and partners. To learn more, we asked our SVP of Public Sector, Dr. Keith Marsh, to give us an update on the project.

Q: How is Healthcare IT Leaders teaming with IBM and Epic on the DHMSM bid?

Marsh: We’ve been a member of the team since mid-2014.  We helped shape the response to the Request for Proposal (RFP), which was submitted late last year.  And at every step, we’re lending our perspective and experience as a consulting firm that has participated in several large-scale Epic implementations.

Q: All of the project bidders have large and diverse teams, why is that?

Marsh: It’s a function of the sheer size of the project and the potential scope of work that will result from the contract. This is one of the biggest IT initiatives in the history of the Department of Defense, so there’s no one system integrator or software firm that could take this on alone without leveraging a diverse set of team members that bring the breadth and depth of both commercial and Federal experience across all of the RFP requirements.

What you’re seeing are major global system integrators, acting as the prime contractor, partnering with EHR companies, and each has filled out their respective teams with—in some cases—dozens of partners, all of whom bring additional specialized expertise and resources to the table.

Lockheed Martin, one of the largest Defense contractors in the world, for example, is on our team for their depth of experience transitioning and integrating large and complex DoD programs, not to mention their cybersecurity capabilities. CACI brings their mission expertise. Healthcare IT Leaders is on board for our EHR consulting, staffing and testing expertise.

Overall, IBM has done a great job building a roster of highly-qualified team members to compliment the Epic solution, and to show the federal government that we are ready to roll once the contract is awarded.


Q: What’s happening with the proposal at this point?

Marsh: It’s a lengthy and meticulous process to review proposals of this size from multiple entities, so those in charge of procurement on the government side are carefully assessing the details and often will come back to the bidders and ask clarifying questions or seek additional information. We’ve seen that happening and that’s not uncommon. All of this should culminate early this summer, in June or July, which is when the DoD hopes to award the contract. And so far, there’s no reason to think that will be delayed or pushed—the DoD seems to be right on track with that timeframe.

Q: What do teams do while you wait?

Marsh: You get ready. For a project of this size, you can’t just wait for the result. There’s a lot of planning to do. That’s why, for example, IBM and Epic have created an advisory group to support their bid and provide expertise for the project. Even though we are still months out from the announcement, you start to lay the groundwork for implementation under the assumption that you are going to win the bid. So that’s a lot of what’s happening in a very collaborative fashion across our team.

For our part, Healthcare IT Leaders continues to support the team in many different ways and we’re prepared to leverage our resources in key delivery locations across the country upon award.

Q: Any last thoughts on the project?

Marsh: Regardless of who ultimately wins the project, it’s a great opportunity for all of the vendors and firms involved. This is going to have far-reaching and positive impacts on military health for decades to come. To be able to improve healthcare delivery and outcomes for the millions of those who serve our country is a great honor—and we’re privileged to play a part.

To learn more about the IBM-Epic bid, visit: