Cerner to host DOD EHR in own data centers following contract modification

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The federal government has issued a sole-source modification to the contract it awarded to the Leidos/Cerner/Accenture team to overhaul the military's health records, permitting data to be stored in Cerner's data centers instead of government data centers.

The new contract was posted Dec. 18 on FedBizOpps.gov, where federal agencies can post business opportunities and commercial vendors can search for them. The notice was posted by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, which supports the Defense Healthcare Management System Modernization Program office.

"While [the] Leidos solution meets the contract requirements, many of the capabilities of the DHMSM EHR cannot be fully realized unless they are hosted in the Cerner environment," reads the notice. "In order to fully enable these functionalities, the DHMSM EHR requires direct access to proprietary Cerner data, which is only available within Cerner-owned and operated data centers."

The notice indicates the proprietary Cerner data includes models based on clinical, operational and financial data that have been developed by analyzing patient data and information from other Cerner applications. Given these data sources and statistics used for predictive analytics and decision support in Cerner's solution, the notice says no other contractor can provide this functionality. Additionally, the notice says the government could not anticipate this need, which is why it wasn't included in the original request for proposals.

The DHMSM Program Office issued a request for information in September regarding other hosting options. "While the evaluation of submissions in response to the RFI revealed some commercial firms can provide solutions which meet the basic technical requirements of the system, none of the responses indicated that a firm could provide direct access to the proprietary Cerner data necessary to fully enable the capabilities of the DHMSM EHR that require direct access to proprietary Cerner data," according to the notice.

The Leidos/Cerner/Accenture team won the $4.3 billion DOD contract in July and assumed responsibility for upgrading and maintaining the Pentagon's health records for 9.5 million beneficiaries at approximately 1,000 sites worldwide. The sole-source modification is expected to cost $5 million per year.

Cerner did not immediately respond to a request for a comment.

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