CIOs ‘surprised’ at Cerner DoD win

CIOs ‘surprised’ at Cerner DoD win

‘I was surprised at the outcome but I shouldn’t have been. Cerner will do a good job.’

Many health system chief information officers say they weren’t expecting the Cerner/Leidos team to win the coveted contract to overhaul the Department of Defense’s electronic health record system.

The Cerner team beat the favored Epic/IBM/Impact Advisors team, as well as one that included Allscripts, Computer Sciences Corp. and Hewlett-Packard.

“Initially I was surprised,” admits Bruce Kelly, chief information officer of ProMedica Monroe Regional Hospital in Monroe, Mich. “I really thought it was going to Epic because they seem to be winning everything.”

David Chou, CIO at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Miss., had also predicted an Epic win. “The decision came as a surprise, but I don’t think it is a bad choice. Overall, they wouldn’t have gone wrong with either choice.”

The DoD contract, which is valued at $4.3 billion over five years, includes the digitizing of health records for over 9.5 million beneficiaries across about 1,000 hospitals and clinics. The project also requires that the Cerner electronic health record supports the electronic sharing of patient records with other EHRs in the private sector.

Chou points to Leidos’ experience within the government sector as one factor that gave an edge to the Cerner partnership. “Leidos knows how to navigate within the sector and has done lots of work from a security aspect,” said Chou. “They’ve built solid relationships working in government for years.

David Tucker, vice president of business development for healthcare IT consulting firm EDS, agrees that the federal successes of Leidos and Accenture contributed to the Cerner win.

“I was surprised at the outcome but I shouldn’t have been,” said Tucker. “Cerner will do a good job and Leidos is a good company. The government relationships they have built led to the win.”

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