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GAO: VA Personnel Should Modernize Current IT Systems

The Government Accountability Office has recommended the Department of Veterans Affairs to address issues regarding critical system modernizations, data center consolidation and the retirement of legacy systems to help refresh the VA’s information technology environment.

According to a report published Tuesday, GAO suggested the VA to establish metrics and goals that will determine the extent to which VA’s modernized electronic health record system meets interoperability with the Defense Department.

GAO also recommended the VA modernize or replace obsolete legacy IT systems as well as address challenges regarding the modernization of the latter’s scheduling system including gaps on the Veterans Benefits Management System implementation and planning.

The government watchdog agency noted that VA has not yet created a long-term plan to address EHR system needs beyond fiscal year 2018, while neither VA nor the DoD have established outcome-oriented goals to define expectations from efforts to bolster EHR interoperability.

VA has started a new program to create or purchase a new scheduling system following the collapse of a previous modernization project for the agency’s outpatient appointment scheduling system that has been in use for more than 30 years.

GAO added that VA did not establish a timeframe and cost estimate for the completion of the VBMS system used to manage disability benefits and the agency also did not meet any of the Office of Management and Budget-established data center optimization areas.

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