Indian Health Service Health IT Modernization
The Health Information Technology Modernization Project will provide important insight on ways for the Indian Health Service (IHS) to optimize its health IT infrastructure, applications, and capabilities. The Indian Health Service Office of Information Technology and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Chief Technology Officer launched the project with a weeklong kick-off meeting at IHS headquarters on October 9-12, 2018.
The Resource and Patient Management System, or RPMS, is currently employed to manage clinical, financial, and administrative information in the Indian health system. RPMS was developed in close partnership with the Veterans Health Administration and has been partially dependent on the development of the VA health IT system, known as VistA. By adapting VistA, IHS minimizes costs of developing and maintaining the system.
Last year, the VA publicly announced a decision to replace VistA with a new, vendor-based system. Consequently, IHS accelerated efforts to re-evaluate health IT priorities and options.
The project led by the HHS Office of the CTO will develop recommendations for a modern health IT system which will address clinical, process, and technical gaps for improving outcomes in the Indian health system.
Stakeholder input will be required at several stages over the tenure of the project. This will ensure that the voice of tribal members and leaders is incorporated into the project’s recommendations. The project is slated to end in September, 2019.
- Project planning and strategy
- Convening an expert advisory panel on IHS health information technology
- Assessment of current health information technology in a sample of IHS, tribal and urban sites
- Developing a health IT community of practice
- Health information technology analysis and recommendations
- Health information technology initiatives roadmap and strategy
Ultimately, tribes, tribal organizations, and urban Indian organizations should be included in the process at every step. Comments offered at a listening session regarding RPMS continue to inform the current project as it moves forward.
The Office of the Chief Technology Officer seeks to utilize technological innovations to advance the mission of HHS. This project falls directly in-line with that goal by looking critically at how IT within IHS can be improved. Furthermore, the project aligns with the White House initiative to modernize federal IT.
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