ASM Research wins contract to help modernize VA e-health records system

Thursday - 7/3/2014, 3:35pm EDT

By Ariel Levin-Waldman
Special to Federal News Radio

The Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded a $162 million contract to help modernize its electronic health records system.

Virginia-based ASM Research was awarded the three-year task order under VA's Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology (T4) indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract.

ASM will be working on VA's Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA) Clinical Application and Enterprise Core Services.

"The VistA Core project work is designed to strengthen and expand veteran health care services," ASM Research said in a press release about the contract. "Work under the contract enables greater interoperability of systems and health care records and will meet the highest security standards."

ASM will also update VistA's Computerized Patient Record System (CPRS). CPRS is the part of VistA that provides medical staff an integrated patient record management system.

ASM Research says the work will improve data sharing, security standards and the medical records' interface for VistA.

This modernization is the latest in a series of steps taken by VA to upgrade the VistA system, which dates back to 1985. In 2009, VA spent more than $100 million through the traditional acquisition process, developing requirements and buying new systems. In the end, it never achieved a useable result.

In 2010, the VA reached out to the American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council for help modernizing the system.

Eventually, VA open sourced VistA and offered cash prizes for new designs compatible with the program.

VA intended VistA to be a model for other agencies and spent more than $1 billion with the Department of Defense to try to merge systems. The Pentagon ultimately decided to pursue a commercial alternative to try to save costs.

Ariel Levin-Waldman is an intern with Federal News Radio

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