Veterans Affairs Information Technology: Progress, Modernization and Challenges


Bryan Barton (Editor)

Series: Veterans: Benefits, Issues, Policies and Programs
BISAC: POL040000

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has made limited progress toward addressing information technology (IT) system modernization challenges. Chapter 1 begins by examining IT because it is so important to everything VA does. From delivering timely care to veterans, to ensuring that medical records follow the patient, to making benefit decisions accurately, modern IT systems are essential. Chapter 2 summarizes key results and recommendations for the VA IT systems modernization efforts, FITARA implementation, and cybersecurity efforts.

VA provides health care services to almost 9 million veterans and their families and relies on its health information system—VistA—to do so. Chapter 3 summarizes preliminary observations regarding costs incurred for the system and related activities during the last 3 fiscal years; key components that comprise VistA and are to be replaced; and actions VA has taken to prepare for its transition to the Cerner system. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 included provisions that VA and DOD jointly develop and implement electronic health record systems or capabilities and accelerate the exchange of health care information. The act also required that these systems be compliant with applicable interoperability standards as reported in chapter 4. Chapter 5 determined VA’s efforts to modernize VistA, including key contractors, contract costs, and expected contractor activities and VA’s current plans for modernizing VistA and the progress that has been achieved to date. Chapter 6 summarizes VA’s history of efforts to modernize VistA, including past use of contractors, and the department’s recent effort to acquire a commercial electronic health record system to replace VistA.

In September 2014, GAO reported on the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (Family Caregiver Program) and found that the program office had limitations with its information technology (IT) system—the Caregiver Application Tracker (CAT). Chapter 7 examines how VHA is implementing the Family Caregiver Program.
(Imprint: SNOVA)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Assessing the VA IT Landscape: Progress and Challenges

Chapter 2. Veterans Affairs: Addressing IT Management Challenges Is Essential to Effectively Supporting the Department’s Mission
Statement of Carol C. Harris

Chapter 3. VA IT Modernization: Preparations for Transitioning to a New Electronic Health Record System Are Ongoing
Statement of David A. Powner

Chapter 4. Electronic Health Records: Clear Definition of the Interagency Program Office’s Role in VA’s New Modernization Effort Would Strengthen Accountability
Statement of Carol C. Harris

Chapter 5. VA Health IT Modernization: Historical Perspective on Prior Contracts and Update on Plans for New Initiative

Chapter 6. Veterans Affairs Information Technology: Historical Perspective on Health System Modernization Contracts and Update on Efforts to Address Key FITARA-Related Areas
Statement of David A. Powner

Chapter 7. VA Health IT: Use of Acquisition Best Practices Can Improve Efforts to Implement a System to Support the Family Caregiver Program
Statement of Carol C. Harris


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