CHCS II is dead; long live AHLTA!

What’s in a name? Quite alot, apparently. Some excerpts:

From now on, the Composite Health Care System II (CHCS II) is to be called AHLTA. DOD officials said AHLTA stands for Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application, however, the system should simply be known by the acronym.

Winkenwerder said he did not like the CHCS II name because it suggested that the system was not No. 1. AHLTA, which will hold the health records of 9.2 million military personnel, family members and retirees, will be one of the largest and most advanced health information technology systems.

The CHCS II system has been in development since 1998 and despite over $1 billion in costs it has yet to see even 50% deployment. Now with the name changed to 5 letter acronym it’s going to be smooth sailing, though :-).

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4 thoughts on “CHCS II is dead; long live AHLTA!

  1. The DOD is pulling a Kaiser. Kaiser wrote off their original in-house EMR, bought an “off the shelf” product, and then renamed it “HealthConnect” so the EMR would be associated with Kaiser (instead of the vendor). Kaiser also hoped to resell it by bundling their “HealthConnect” brand with the population management data they had gathered from patients. No patient gave Kaiser permission to make a resale profit from scraping their personal data.

  2. CHCS was a $2B healthcare system. It has advanced functionality compared to commercial systems, while addressing all of the amazing requirements for the DOD electronic medical record. Most commercial healthcare organizations could care less if you were a fighter pilot/vision or on a submarine/pregnancy. A last review, the medical record for CHCS held maybe 8 thousand data elements of which about 25% were clinically relevant. You have to remember Defense and other were spending money on medical records long before most organizations and have a lot of legacy deployed across 200 facilities around the world. Kaiser is a another story which needs its own thread.

  3. Having used CHCS/CHCSII/and AHLTA, I can tell you that $2 Billion was a huge waste of taxpayer’s money. We actually called in HAHLTA because it crashed/locked up/or just processed input extremely slow.

  4. I have worked as a certified coder for the DoD since December 2004, and I can say without reservation that AHLTA, despite the name change, is a good idea gone horribly wrong. Over four years after the implementation of this system, there are still egregious errors in both ICD-9 and CPT codes. Corrections are made at a snail’s pace. Providers, who are expected to “code” with ease, are faced with a bewildering choice of diagnostic and procedural descriptors, many of which DO NOT CORRELATE TO OFFICIAL MANUALS. I call them “monkey codes” because it literally looks like the code programming was outsourced to monkeys!! Unfortunately, there are not enough of us to correct outgoing data, and frankly, it scares me. Coding is not like picking numbers out of a phone book, despite the apparent belief that providers can easily become coders with NO RESOURCES, TRAINING OR CERTIFICATION!

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