VA Official Bragged About Agency's Scheduling System in 2013 Speech
7:38 AM, May 30, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
A report released this week by the inspector general for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) found that "inappropriate scheduling practices are systemic throughout VHA." But as recently as September 2013, Stephen Warren, the executive in charge for information and technology for the VA, said that he could not "pass up an opportunity to brag about how" VistA, the scheduling software in use for more than two decades by the VA, "plays a role in providing the quality care Veterans receive at VA."
Warren made the remarks in his keynote address at the 2nd annual summit of the Open Source Electronic Health Record Alliance (OSEHRA):
Warren spoke about VistA Evolution, the VA's current effort to use "open source" software innovations to improve the scheduling and other aspects of the care provided to veterans by the VA. (The VA recently awarded $3 million in prizes in a contest for medical appointment scheduling applications.) An April 2014 presentation by the VA spells out the VistA Evolution concept in great detail, including this timetable for its development and implementation:
The presentation borrowed from the popular comic strip Dilbert to make the point about the challenges faced in upgrading the information systems:
Warren addressed the VA's ambitious plans for VistA evolution at the OSEHRA summit:
The VA's previous effort to upgrade its systems ran for nine years, from 2000 to 2009, and cost $127 million, but in the end did not deliver and was scrapped.
While the inspector general's report this week does not appear to be critical of VistA itself, it noted that "[d]uring our review at Phoenix HCS we determined that certain audit controls within Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA) were not enabled. This limited VHA and the OIG’s ability to determine whether any malicious manipulation of the VistA data occurred." The VA since turned VistA's audit controls.
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