Washington Prowler

Pentagon Eats Crow

After smearing Adara it's now taking advantage of its competence and its inexpensive solutions.

By 1.29.10

On September 18, 2009, The Prowler reported that a small Silicon Valley technology company, Adara Networks, had solved the long-standing problem of interoperability within the Department of Defense (DOD) and Veterans Administration electronic health records system.

In fact, one of the key planks to President Barack Obama's health care reform plan was the implementation of the long-gestating DOD Joint Virtual Lifetime Electronic Records System (JVLERS), which was envisioned to ensure that health-care records for military personnel would be available to health care professionals throughout patients' lifetimes in a secure and private database -- whether on the battlefield or in a VA or civilian hospital.

And long-gestating it was. The program to develop this interoperable system was funded by more than ten billion in taxpayer dollars over the past ten years. Most of those funds went through Northrop Grumman and SAIC, but the program had stalled out.

But, as we reported, Adara had solved the problem in about nine months at a cost of only $10 million. Adara was ready to perform the next phase of the work when allegations in an email written by a former Army nurse working in Military Health Systems were leaked to the media. In the email obtained by the online publication, Nextgov, Major Frank Tucker, the Army nurse, stated, "Adara's system 'was not as promised…. It was not ready for prime time and did not contain all the code…for the video displays.'"

That email and allegations of improper contracting caused an IG investigation that derailed the program, even though it appeared that DOD officials continued to endorse Adara’s design in its attempts to get the program back up and running, while blocking the firm from pursuing further business on the project. In reporting what appeared to be a sweetheart DOD deal for its longstanding contractors, like Northrop Grumman, among others, the Spectator took some heavy blowback from the Pentagon. In fact, the DoD spokesman for the project Director, Rear Admiral Gregory Timberlake informed us that Adara's system had not been endorsed.

Perhaps because enough time has elapsed that DOD officials think everyone will forget, it now appears that the JVLERS project has been unstalled and the Defense Department is looking for firms to bid on the contract. The Prowler has obtained the Military Health System’s Request for Proposal (RFP) for the project that was posted on Friday, January 15. And lo and behold, it has gone forward with the work Adara created. In fact the "Graphical User Interface" (GUI) that DOD is using to highlight the system is essentially Adara's down to the same chest x-ray.

Now Pentagon sources tell us that Adara -- the company that did at one percent of the cost of the large contractors -- is now being courted by those same firms (IBM, Nothrup Grumman, SAIC, etc.) to partner since Adara is the only firm that was able to crack the code for an interoperable, fully functional virtual health records system.

In fact, at the request of MHS, Adara presented at the MHS National Conference. Here's a link to Adara’s video presentation. 

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