A new report issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) calls into question the VA’s capacity to host a secure and quality experience for our country’s finest. While performing an evaluation of the many disparate technology solutions used by the VA, the agency determined that there were serious challenges with integration, communication and currency of the systems. Moreover, the GAO expressed concern over the VA’s qualification to oversee and routinely audit these functions.

A GAO official issued a statement saying, “We have reported on VA’s failed attempts to modernize its outpatient appointment scheduling system, which is about 30 years old. Among the problems cited by VA staff responsible for scheduling appointments are that the system requires them to use commands requiring many keystrokes and that it does not allow them to view multiple screens at once.” He added that the “VA undertook an initiative to replace its scheduling system in 2000 but terminated the project after spending $127 million over 9 years, due to weaknesses in project management and a lack of effective oversight.”

Interestingly enough, the VA isn’t the only healthcare enterprise struggling with interoperability- virtually all major stakeholders are facing similar challenges, particularly Accountable Care Organizations (ACO). Technology integration and interfacing is no easy task when most healthcare organizations are relying to aging legacy platforms and ramping up acquisitions of smaller practices that often house systems different that their own.

Elsewhere in the world, western partners have faced and qualified similar challenges; with healthcare being the last major industry in America to adopt technology, the VA and others may have to start thinking outside of the box.

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Sources: EHR Intelligence