The agency currently uses the scheduling module of its VistA electronic health-record system. While a department audit released in June laid relatively little of the blame for recent veteran healthcare problems at the feet of the system, the department has been moving ahead to replace it.
Scheduling woes are compounded by the current system's inability to distinguish between new and follow-up visits or to document a patient or provider's desired date for a future appointment, the agency has said.
“When we can put a solid scheduling system in place, this will free up more human resources to focus on direct veterans' care,” VA Secretary Robert McDonald said in a release. “As VA recommits to its mission of caring for veterans and evaluating our actions through the lens of what serves them best, we know a better scheduling system is necessary to provide them the timely, quality healthcare that they have earned and deserve.”
As it prepares the RFP, the department is implementing changes to its current system, including providing schedulers a calendar view of resources instead of the current text-based, multiple-screen view. This update is scheduled to begin roll out beginning in January 2015, the agency said.
The VA also is developing mobile applications to allow veterans to directly request certain types of primary care and mental health appointments starting in December 2014.
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