Coast Guard next to pick Cerner? Vendor is already prepping its EHR for the high seas

USCG ranked interoperability with DoD and VA as a priority while Cerner, meanwhile, has been testing its software on submarines.
By Tom Sullivan
03:10 PM
Coast Guard EHR vendor problems

Now that Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, MD, revealed that VA has officially opted to replace its VistA EHR with one from Cerner, the overarching question: Is Cerner now a shoo-in for the Coast Guard’s upcoming EHR implementation?

USCG, after all, listed interoperability with DoD and VA as among the top attributes it is seeking in an electronic health record platform.

“The solution will protect Personally Identifiable Information and Personal Health Information and will markedly enhance core and priority USCG health care services and improve interoperability with both the Department of Defense (DoD) Military Health System and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health systems,” the Coast Guard said in the request for information that closed in the last week of May.

[Also: The submarine effect: Cerner pres says DoD modernization benefits all customers]

The agency also noted in the RFI that it was interested in exploring the possibility of sharing a hosted EHR with another federal agency — something it originally tried to do when it embarked on an Epic EHR implementation. USCG effectively ended that ugly 7-year break up when it opened the RFI.

Cerner, for its part, has been designing its software to perform in what President Zane Burke described in the company’s annual shareholders meeting as a ‘sometimes connected’ capacity to be used on submarines, for instance, and other realms where users are disconnected for long periods of time.

[Also: How the Coast Guard’s ugly, Epic EHR break-up played out]

Burke also touched on other open contracts, VA and Coast Guard being the obvious ones at the time, and said that Cerner just needed to keep doing good work for DoD and “we will be well-served in those other cases.”

Two weeks later, Shulkin revealed VA’s plans and explained that it skipped the request for proposal stage as a way to accelerate procurement.

The Coast Guard has not said yet whether it will take a similar tack or go through a comprehensive RFP process but insiders are already speculating that if USCG does ultimately choose Cerner then Indian Health Service might follow suit as well. 

Twitter: SullyHIT
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