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Indian Health Service Awards $89M Contract for EHR System Support

GDIT will support the Indian Health Service with EHR system software development through a five-year contract.

The Indian Health Service (IHS) has awarded General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) an $89 million contract to continue providing health IT engineering support services for the agency's electronic health record (EHR) system.

The IHS is an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) responsible for providing healthcare services to 2.6 million members of 574 federally recognized tribes across the country.

The agency's providers use the Resource and Patient Management System (RPMS) as their EHR platform for patient care delivery across hospitals and clinics nationwide.

The five-year contract with GDIT has a one-year base period with four option years.

Under the contract, GDIT will provide complete software development life cycle services for RPMS, including project management, system deployment support, security engineering and compliance, software application development, IT architecture, and system engineering.

GDIT will also work with IHS to support data management and future migration needs.

"The enhancements to RPMS will further support better patient healthcare and improve outcomes across tribal communities nationwide," Kamal Narang, GDIT vice president and general manager for Federal Health, noted in a press release.

"It will also facilitate a smooth transition for future EHR modernization efforts," Narang added. "GDIT is honored to continue our 20-year partnership with IHS and support the agency's mission to raise the physical, mental, social, and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives."

Earlier this year at the 2022 virtual ONC annual meeting, the IHS chief medical information officer said that the agency has begun a multi-year health IT modernization initiative to replace its homegrown EHR platform with a private vendor solution.

"Even though the RPMS EHR is a certified system and has remained a certified system since the beginning of the meaningful use era, the continuously evolving technology and regulatory environment is increasingly challenging," Howard Hays, MD, said. "The IHS is a healthcare organization. We're not by nature a development shop."

"Fortunately, the health IT industry has caught up, and we know that there are modern, capable EHR solutions out there that can be leveraged to truly modernize health IT infrastructure in the IHS," Hays said. "We have an outdated technology stack that's very challenging to support. It's distributed in hundreds of databases around the country, resulting in little interoperability between them."

Hays noted that IHS is looking forward to implementing a modernized technology architecture with better interfaces for providers and patients and true interoperability with partners on different systems.

"This will be a transformational effort that we believe will be a huge leap forward in helping the IHS accomplish our mission," Hays said.

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