The U.S. Veterans Affairs Department is looking to trade up on its medical scheduling system.
VA seeks new medical scheduling system
The VA's current scheduling system, part of the department's VistA electronic health-record system, is more than 25 years old and is "highly inefficient," according to the VA. It "no longer effectively supports the multiple linkages needed to engage patients, clinicians and ancillary services and support new models of clinical care delivery," the VA states in a request for information on replacing the system published on the FedBizOpps website.
A new medical scheduling system should rely on online and mobile-device services to help "enable reliable, fast and secure communications with veterans" and support data-driven decisionmaking about resource allocation within the Veterans Health Administration, according to the FedBizOpps notice. In addition, the new system should be "standards-based, modular, extensible and scalable" and fully interoperable with other VistA components. "We envision a contest-based procurement based on specific, tested and mutually agreed-upon outcomes and not merely best efforts," the VA notes.
In 2000, the VA embarked upon a failed effort—one that ultimately cost more than $127 million over nine years, according to the FedBizOpps notice—to replace its medical scheduling system. The Government Accountability Office cited poor planning, unreliable data reporting and inadequate follow-up to emerging problems on the part of the VA as reasons for the initiative's failure. This year, to help smooth the path for modernization of VistA and its assorted components, the VA created a custodial agent for the VistA open-source code base. For new or replacement VistA modules, including the new scheduling system, the most important functional attribute will be substitutability with competing products, according to the notice.
Representatives of industry and academia and others can submit their ideas through Jan. 31, 2012, on how best to replace the medical scheduling system.
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