How Agencies like IHS Can Leave Legacy IT Systems

“… The federal government operates with a good amount of legacy technology, and agencies are attempting to modernize the antiquated IT to improve performance, security and operational efficiency as well as reduce costs.”

“A 2019 Government Accountability Office report details the 10 most critical legacy IT systems in the federal government — all of them between about 10 and 50 years old. Some systems operate with known security vulnerabilities, run on obsolete hardware and/or unsupported ­software, or are written in outdated ­programming languages.”

“These older systems are more expensive to maintain, put data at greater risk and are less effective than technology available today, the report says.”

“’The public sector is finding that the talent they have to support those older systems is retiring, and that those legacy systems are limiting their ability to innovate and deliver better user experiences,’ says Thomas Ortiz, a partner at Information Services Group, a technology research and advisory firm.”

“Agencies have several ways to upgrade their systems, including rewriting applications and replacing legacy code with modern programming languages, buying commercial software or moving applications to the cloud.”

“In doing so, they can streamline ­business processes, automate manual tasks, bolster security and reduce ­support costs, while ­providing users with a more accessible user interface and improved customer service, the GAO report says…”

“In 2018, HHS took the first step toward modernization by assessing RPMS, with input from 450 staffers across IHS’ 12 regional areas. It produced a modernization roadmap in late 2019.”

“Thornbrugh says the agency wants to build a centralized, state-of-the-art, ­easier-to-use EHR system that meets key federal priorities. Among them: The new system must be cloud-based, secure and interoperable, and meet the challenges of ­delivering healthcare in rural areas with modern capabilities such as telehealth and patient portal technology.”

“IHS plans to purchase a new system by 2021 and go live with the first site by the end of the 2022 fiscal year. It will take seven to 10 years to deploy the new software agencywide, Thornbrugh says. In the meantime, IHS will continue to support RPMS.” Read the full article here.

Source: How Agencies Can Leave Legacy IT Systems – By Wylie Wong, February 21, 2020. FedTech Magazine.

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