IT workarounds complicate DOD and VA health center effort


The Veterans Affairs and Defense department's efforts to integrate healthcare facilities has hit a snag. The two medical centers involved in the first full-scale attempt, involving the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago has had a hard time blending its IT, according to a Government Accountability Office report.

VA and DOD planned to integrate 12 specific areas in the project, and IT is the only one to be delayed, the GAO found. The others are complete or in progress.

“Despite some progress, the FHCC continues to face costly delays in the IT integration area,” the report reads. “The Executive Agreement specified three key IT capabilities that VA and DOD were required to have in place on opening day, in October 2010, to facilitate interoperability of VA and DOD electronic health record systems.”

In a previous GAO report issued in 2011, all three of the components were delayed, the new report says. The HCC implemented “costly workarounds to address the needs these capabilities were intended to serve.”

While the components were not ready in time for the center's opening, officials told GAO that medical single sign-on and single patient registration became operational by December 2010. However, portability of pharmacy and consults orders were still delayed as of May 2012.

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