From NextGov:

The Defense Department’s inspector general isn’t sure the Pentagon’s $9 billion electronic health records system will reach initial operating capability on schedule later this year.

In an audit released Tuesday, the IG reported that the Defense Healthcare Management System Modernization program, which will replace the DoD’s legacy military health systems, met requirements and had an approved acquisition strategy. However, the department’s “mandated execution schedule may not be realistic” for meeting an initial operational capability by December 2016, the report concluded.

The full audit has not been released publicly. The IG released a summary of the report on its website. Nextgov has filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain the full report.

Last summer, DOD awarded a multibillion contract to Leidos and electronic health records developer Cerner to upgrade the department’s electronic health records system using commercial software.

Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, told reporters at the time DOD planned to deploy and field test software across eight locations in the Pacific Northwest by the close of 2016.

Further adding to the deadline pressure, the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act demands DOD and the Veterans Affairs Department work to achieve “seamless electronic sharing of medical health data” between both agencies by Dec. 31.

The IG said contracting officials have identified risks and impacts to cost, schedule and performance. But that may not matter because interfacing with legacy systems is challenging, the IG said.

“While the DHMSM program office has identified risks and mitigation strategies, it is still at…

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