IBM Bids For $US11 Billion Overhaul Of The Military's Medical Records Using Its Watson Supercomputer

IBM is teaming up with Epic Systems to compete for an $US11 billion defence contract that would overhaul the Military Health System (MHS) clinical systems,Bloomberg News reports.The proposed overhaul would affect 9.7 million beneficiaries, including active duty personnel and their families.

IBM plans to incorporate technology from its Watson supercomputer, which has already made strides in medical diagnosing.

The Defence Healthcare Management Systems Modernization (DHMSM) contract
would update the Pentagon’s record system and allow for easier sharing with the Veterans Affairs Administration (VA), which was recently engulfed in a patient-care scandal that culminated with the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

Since the troubled rollout of President Obama’s healthcare exchange, private contractors have been under intense pressure to deliver results flawlessly. But IBM touted its expertise in healthcare IT in a press release that came out earlier today.

“IBM’s healthcare team includes more than 300 federal healthcare consultants and dozens of medical doctors and healthcare professionals who are focused on healthcare systems transformation,” said the company.

The release also addressed the collaboration with Epic, which IBM Managing Partner Andy Maner called “a natural extension of our global partnership.”

IBM is no stranger to large government contracts. The company won a cloud-computing contract with the Interior Department last year worth up to $US1 billion.

The DHMSM contract would dwarf IBM’s Interior Department project. Some in Congress have estimated the contract’s total cost at $US11 billion, with most of that sum going to one lead contractor.

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