A Metrics-Based IT Approach at the VA

Published on January 21, 2015

While the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has not been without its challenges, under the leadership of Stephen Warren, CIO, there are some new changes that will bolster the power of IT for enhancing mission success.

Late last year, Warren held a conference call with members of the media, where he discussed a number of topics including how IT aims to brings a new level of efficiency and performance to serving the VA’s mission.

One core area he highlighted was how the agency’s IT department operates on a metric-based approach to delivering innovation.  This includes ongoing employee and Veteran surveys, and launching next-generation monitoring IT systems to ensure consistent performance.

This approach is also helping the agency enhance its scheduling capabilities, as well as focus on information protection, especially when it comes to veterans’ personal data.

As highlighted in this recent Federal Times story, the VA is looking for a commercially available solution that integrates with the agency’s current business systems.  Along these same lines, in November, the VA put out a press release announcing that it has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a new Medical Appointment Scheduling System (MASS).

The new MASS technology will help improve access to care for Veterans by providing schedulers with “state-of-the-art, management-based scheduling software.” In addition, this new solution will replace the legacy scheduling system that has been in use at VA since 1985.

In addition, the VA is taking steps to prevent identity theft by offering free credit monitoring to veterans, and has put systems that restrict websites that employees can access. The agency also works with the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) in a coordinated incidents team, where both agencies develop joint efforts to protect medical data.  This includes understanding new and emerging threats, and developing the right strategies for mitigating the chance of a health data security breach.

Clearly, the VA is on the right track when it comes to leveraging the power of IT for overcoming core challenges.  In addition, the right innovations can help provide the foundation for mission success, which is precisely what Warren is aiming to do with his metrics-based IT approaches.


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