Healthcare IT News: Congressional watchdog issues recommendations for VA IT system overhaul

“The U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a report this week making recommendations for the ongoing Department of Veterans Affairs’ IT modernization program.”

“As noted in the GAO report, the VA has been attempting to replace its aging financial and acquisitions systems with an integrated system for years.”

“The latest deployment, in November 2020, followed some IT best practices – but the cost and schedule estimates ‘only minimally or partially met’ many others, said the report…”

WHY IT MATTERS

“The VA’s core financial system is three decades old. It is also not integrated with other relevant IT systems, meaning users have to implement complex work-arounds to effectively use it.”

“‘Weak financial management makes it more difficult for VA to achieve its mission of serving our nation’s veterans, as well as meeting requirements for transparent and accurate public reporting of financial information,’ wrote the report authors.”

“The Financial Management Business Transformation program, established in 2016, represents the agency’s third attempt to overhaul the acquisition and financial systems into one integrated setup…”

“After the first deployment of some FMBT capabilities this past November, officials flagged challenges including funding shortfalls and coordination with other major initiatives – including the electronic health record modernization efforts, which have faced their own pitfalls.”

“‘To address this challenge, as part of its efforts to plan wave deployments, the FMBT program coordinates with other priority initiatives at VA, such as the Electronic Health Record Modernization program and the supply chain modernization efforts that the VA Logistics Redesign program manages,’ read the report.”

“In other words, the new integrated financial system, called iFAMS, will not be implemented at the Veterans Health Administration for at least two years to coordinate with the implementation of the new EHR and logistics systems…” Read the full article here.

Source: Congressional watchdog issues recommendations for VA IT system overhaul — By Kat Jercich, April 21, 2021. Healthcare IT News.

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