Coast Guard prepares to roll out EHR

By Mary Mosquera
03:24 PM

The US Coast Guard is preparing to roll out its integrated health information system and is looking for industry sources to supply service desk support for the IHiS, which is based on the Epic electronic health record. USCG awarded its contract to Epic in 2010.

Since then the Coast Guard has conducted a system wide re-engineering of clinical workflows and feeder information systems so the integrated applications will operate effectively. The IHiS system will also support healthcare operations for the State Department.

[Scoop: VA, DoD to make imminent open 3M Health Data Dictionary part of iEHR.]

USCG will host the IHiS, which replaces its legacy healthcare system, at its operations center in Martinsburg, W.Va., and will need project management, systems maintenance, configuration management, performance and security monitoring and database administration, including for master patient index, and indexing of documents coming in from outside sources related to patients.

The Coast Guard is working with the Veterans Affairs Department and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to join the nationwide health information network (NwHIN) Exchange to share its health records with VA and the Defense Department as part of the virtual lifetime electronic record (VLER) program, according to the announcement in the March 30 Federal Business Opportunities. Interested vendors have until April 13 to reply.

The service desk supplier will also support wireless network operations, training and application development as the system is rolled out to it Coast Guard facilities. The Coast Guard operates 43 ambulatory clinics across six time zones and remote sickbays on land and afloat.

[See also: Comments for the meaningful use stage 2 NPRM commenters: Specificty matters.]

The Coast Guard plans mobile network interfaces so that wireless laptops, tablets and smart phones using a secure system may access IHiS from clinic access points over cellular network. Also, Coast Guard cutters, which often have little or no connectivity, will have a store-and-forward version of Epic using dedicated mobile devices with built-in cameras.

“This mobile platform should allow for viewing or documenting care in nearly any type of Coast Guard mission setting,” the agency said in its notice.

IHiS is made up the core Epic EHR, single sign-on application using the DOD-administered Common Access Card combined with a unified graphical user interface based on that used with the Military Health System at its North Chicago facility with the VA. The interface connects to systems