Candidate to lead VA office pledges to push modernization

Agility and modernization are key priorities of the nominee to lead the VA's Office of Enterprise Integration.

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The Department of Veterans Affairs is pushing on plans to modernize agency technology, change workforce culture and shift to a commercial electronic health care record.

The assistant secretary of the Office of Enterprise Innovation is a key advisor to the secretary on big picture issues. The candidate to lead the office, Melissa Sue Glynn, told the Senate Veterans Affairs committee on Oct. 4 that she plans to "serve as the driver for modernization" if confirmed to the post.

Glynn was nominated by President Donald Trump in August and was most recently managing partner of Alvarez & Marsal's public-sector practice.  Previously, she worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers as an engagement partner for the VA.

OEI was created to improve veteran and employee experience "through effective enterprise integration of people, processes, technology; innovations; and maturing organizational management capabilities." Included in the extensive list of departmental efforts that OEI leads is enterprise risk management, data analytics and statistics, policy research and interagency coordination and collaboration.

One of the major agencywide challenges the VA faces is the shift to a commercial electronic health records system, a move that will require cooperation with the Defense Department.

"That's a big, big undertaking," said Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), who also serves on the Armed Services Committee. "It's not going to be easy." VA officials expect implementation to take several years, and possibly a decade.

Glynn noted that her role as assistant secretary would involve her overseeing OEI's VA/DOD Joint Executive Committee "to make sure there's appropriate policy interaction" between the two agencies.  

Glynn said that her prior experience aligns with two of Secretary David Shulkin's main priorities for VA: "modernizing systems and focusing resources." She added, "It is critical at this juncture that progress is made to change how the department operates to foster agility and ensure appropriated resources deliver to our veterans."

NEXT STORY: The CIO and government IT

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