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Coast Guard Awards $14 Million EHR Contract

Epic Systems will develop an electronic health records system for the military agency that meets federal requirements for meaningful use and secure data exchange.

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Epic Systems has been awarded a $14 million contract by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) to establish an electronic health record (EHR) system that will meet meaningful use requirements as well as help the Coast Guard transition from a paper-based system to digitized health records.

Announced Oct. 4 on the Federal Business Opportunities website, the contract will have a base period of one year, with four one-year option periods, for a total of 5 years. The contract calls for Epic to install its Epic Ambulatory solution within the U.S. Coast Guard environment, provide functionality unique to that environment, support the USCG Continuity of Operation (COOP), and provide support services including training, testing, help desk, and ad-hoc support.

Epic's EHR solution has several modules that meet the Coast Guard's requirement for a solution that provides ambulatory care, urgent care, dental, physical therapy, optometry, behavioral health, occupational health, immunizations, audiology, radiology, pharmacy, laboratory, and patient portal functionality.

The Coast Guard's previous EHR system lacked the ability to meet current federal requirements for an EHR that is standards-based and capable of exchanging health data. It also lacked basic EHR features such as clinical decision support, population health reporting, and patient scheduling portals.

Describing its old EHR system as "inefficient, experiences poor user satisfaction, and has no wireless user interfaces," the Coast Guard said it needs a more robust EHR system to operate its 43 ambulatory clinics across six time zones and remote sickbays on land and afloat. All land-based clinics and sickbays are connected to the Coast Guard Digital Network (CGDN) through which they access the medical information system. According to the Coast Guard, sickbays afloat have intermittent or no connectivity to the network and rely on standalone or store-and-forward systems.

The Epic EHR will replace a version of a Defense Department system that includes the Composite Health Care System (CHCS), Provider Graphic User Interface (PGUI), and Armed Forces Healthcare Longitudinal Application (AHLTA). The new Epic EHR will enable the Coast Guard to exchange data using the nationwide health information network (NHIN). Under the contract, which took effect Sept. 30, the new system will also use the C32 and Continuity of Care (CCR) document format standards for sharing a patient's summary health status, and support requirements for the virtual lifetime electronic record (VLER), a project of the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs, and longitudinal patient records.

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