The Past: What Led to the Decision to Modernize
Several factors played into the decision to replace the Resource and Patient Management System (RPMS):
- Although IHS regularly updates RPMS, it is built on outdated technology, making new development more difficult each year. All technologies have a natural lifespan, and these systems are no different.
- RPMS lives in databases at local facilities across the country. This makes it very difficult to manage, and difficult for patients to share their health information with new providers when they are referred to another facility, seek care in an Emergency Room, or move to another community.
- In 2018-2019, the IHS cooperated with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on an in-depth project to study both the technology of RPMS and how IHS, tribal, and urban medical facility staff use it across the country. That project concluded that IHS needed to either upgrade RPMS with new technology or completely replace it. View the project reports online:
- RPMS uses a lot of software code and features from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) “VistA” EHR system. In 2017, the VA made the decision to move away from VistA to a commercial electronic health record. As a result, the IHS will not be able to get VistA updates from the VA in a few years, which will make it more challenging to update RPMS.
- The U.S. Government Accountability Office Report 19-471 listed RPMS as a “critical federal legacy system in need of modernization.”
- Two HHS Office of the Inspector General reports offered ways to improve systems (A-18-16-30540 and A-18-17-11400 ).