Google on board for DoD contract bid

'They were part of our submission in our original proposal'
By Bernie Monegain
09:37 AM
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Google is a key contender – part of the PwC team – bidding on the massive 10-year federal contract to build an electronic health record system for the Department of Defense. PwC announced the collaboration with Google Thursday.

Google had been part of the team from the start, Dan Garrett, PwC's health IT leader, told Healthcare IT News.

"They were part of our submission in our original proposal," he said. "Since the proposal, we've also cemented a broader relationship between the two firms. And, we thought it was appropriate now to make the rest of the world aware of the submission that we had made."

"Google provides us with another whole layer of options from an infrastructure perspective." Garrett said. "You have everything from work management, storage, search engines, security, cloud – a whole level of infrastructure that we can pick from as the industry changes and innovation continues to come into the space."

Besides Google, the main players on the PwC team include General Dynamics Information Technology, DSS Inc. and Medsphere, whose commercial OpenVista EHR, an open source offering, was derived from the VistA-EHR, built by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

[See also: PwC to offer DoD open source EHR.]

The other three teams that submitted bids are:

  • IBM and Epic
  • Computer Sciences Corp., partnered with HP and Allscripts
  • Cerner, Leidos, Accenture Federal and Intermountain Healthcare

Formally named the Department of Defense Healthcare Management Systems Modernization Electronic Health Record contract – DHMSM, for short, the DoD award could pay as much as $11.3 billion over 10 years. DoD is expected to award the contact this June.

As the clock ticks toward the anticipated verdict, the contenders have released more information on their bids. Epic, typically silent about any of its doings, last week joined its partner, IBM, to reveal it had assembled a team of advisors from some of the most recognizable health system names in healthcare, among them Kaiser Permanente and Partners HealthCare.

[See also: Epic, IBM reveal advisors for DoD bid.]

The PwC proposal is called the Defense Operational Readiness Health System. Garrett refers to it as DORHS.

PwC's interest in Google is not limited to the DoD contract. PWC and Google also recently forged a business relationship in which they will team up to help companies use the cloud and build trust in it.

“Google is known for its expertise in innovative, secure and open technologies, and the power of Internet scale, Scott McIntyre, PwC’s clobal and U.S. public sector leader, said in a statement. “Google can assist us in delivering a cost-effective and efficient solution to serve the healthcare needs of our military.”

“Our solution is engineered to provide flexibility, cost effectiveness and a platform that will stand the test of time, and does not rely on unproven technologies or proprietary computing platforms,” said Garrett. "Consistent quality is what we were looking for, true open systems, true interoperability and true open source systems."

DORHS’ flexibility, he added, would  help prevent the federal government from being locked into a single technology, avoiding “vendor lock” and “innovation lag” which can occur with proprietary EHR and technology companies.

"Google is a great example of how we're going to prevent that," Garrett said. "With Google on our team, the DoD will be able to tap in to the latest and greatest infrastructure innovation for the duration of those 10 years,."

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