The Department of Defense (DOD) is expected to select a contractor sometime this summer to modernize its electronic health records (EHR) system. The DOD’s $11 billion Healthcare Management Systems Modernization Electronic Health Record program will replace the agency’s existing EHR system, which supports more than 9.7 million beneficiaries, including active duty personnel, retirees, and their dependents. This will be the biggest federal IT project since HealthCare.gov, the health insurance website operated by the federal government to facilitate enrollment in Exchange plans.

DOD’s new EHR system will eliminate barriers to exchanging beneficiary health data between agencies, including DOD and the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the private sector. Interoperability between information systems is a key goal of the project and will allow data to be shared with both the private and public sectors, regardless of where the patient receives treatment. The various systems that DOD beneficiaries currently rely upon are not well integrated, which has the potential to negatively affect patient care.

DOD plans to select a vendor that will update its health records technology on a continuous basis instead of implementing a static product that quickly becomes outdated with the fast pace of technology. The agency’s goal is to choose a contractor this summer and begin implementing the new EHR system on a region-by-region basis in 2016, with completion projected by 2023.