Population and Public Health

New Indian Health Service EHR System Will Have Multi-Generational Impact on Native American Population Health

electronic health record

The Indian Health Service (IHS), which provides comprehensive healthcare to approximately 2.8 million American Indians and Alaska Natives who belong to 574 federally recognized tribes, has announced the agency will implement Oracle Cerner technology as the new IHS enterprise electronic health record system.

The new system, which replaces the 40-year-old Resource and Patient Management System (RPMS), is intended to make it easier for patients and providers to access updated and accurate health information.

“HIMSS strongly supports the implementation of an enterprise-wide electronic health record that will improve access to health information in a manner meeting the unique cultural needs for each tribe in the United States,” said Tom Leary, senior vice president and head of government relations at HIMSS. “Ensuring tribes and Urban Indian Organization partners are equipped with standards-based interoperable health information solutions is critical to advancing high-quality healthcare for generations to come.”

The announcement comes after a long federal acquisition process that was open to all EHR manufacturers. General Dynamics Information Technology, Inc. (GDIT) has been selected to build, configure, and maintain the new EHR system.

In a press announcement on the IHS website, IHS Director Roselyn Tso said, “This is a major milestone in our work to deliver quality modern healthcare to American Indians and Alaska Natives.”

Tso noted better patient access to their health information and more effective care coordination were big drivers for the selection of the new EHR system.

The selection of the new EHR, which coincides with Native American Heritage Month, is part of the IHS Health Information Technology Modernization Program. This was made after a federal acquisition process that coordinated with tribal and urban Indian organizations, including tribal participation in product demonstrations to ensure the selected EHR would meet the diverse health and cultural needs of tribes and advance health equity.

“We are ready and eager to move forward with the enterprise EHR with our partners,” said IHS Chief Information Officer and Director for the Office of Information Technology Mitchell Thornbrugh. “It is time to replace our current system and ensure that IHS is keeping pace with technological advances across the health care delivery system. “This modernization – and the technology that drives it – will impact every part of our health care delivery. Most importantly, the new EHR will enable patients and their providers to have updated and accurate information to make the best healthcare decisions.”

HIMSS Public Policy and Advocacy

The HIMSS policy team works closely with the U.S. Congress, federal decision makers, state legislatures and governments, and other organizations to recommend policy, and legislative and regulatory solutions to improve health through information and technology.

Help Advance Health IT Policy