Why the DOD needs to solve its interoperability problem, not Cerner

After the Cerner, Leidos and Accenture team won the bid for the massive, 10-year Department of Defense EHR contract, valued at approximately $4.3 billion, the IT field exploded with reactions.

Many voiced surprise and doubt that the contract would end successfully, including Niam Yaraghi, PhD, a fellow in the Brookings Institution's Center for Technology Innovation.

Dr. Yaraghi penned an opinion piece in the U.S. News & World Report, offering the Cerner team some words of advice. Interoperability is one of the biggest areas of focus in health IT — one the Cerner team will have to face in its time with the DOD.

Dr. Yaraghi argues that interoperability is not actually Cerner's responsibility. "The lack of interoperability is not a technical problem; it is, rather, a political and economic issue. There is only so much the Cerner team can do to make sure that the technical capability to exchange medical information is in place; how others decide to use these functionalities is out of Cerner's control," he wrote.

He points out that the DOD will have the power to require sending and receiving medical data. "Keeping DOD's business will be important enough for many medical providers to not only actively engage in information exchange, but also push their electronic health records vendors to facilitate this exchange," he wrote.

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