3 trends to watch at the VA in 2017

As the only civilian agency with a new FY17 appropriation, the Department of Veterans Affairs would have been a high-profile sales target even without the attention paid to it on the campaign trail. However, between reorganizations, new programs and budgetary tug-of-war contests, it can be difficult to figure out where exactly you need to sell.

Here are three trends to watch in the next year as the administration’s priorities take shape. You can hear more on the department in my recent webinar, IT Sales Opportunities at the VA: Everything You Need to Know but Were Afraid to Ask:

  • This is the year of the cloud. The biggest effort is the department’s Enterprise Cloud Services project, which awarded a cloud brokerage contract to CSRA under HHS’s CIO-SP3 vehicle. The company will act as the prime broker to help VA manage its modernization via the cloud. The ECS program will result in an enterprise-wide cloud migration and implementation strategy, building on the department’s success migrating the MyHealtheVet program, which helps veterans manage their health benefits and services. VA’s cloud implementation will be led by the Enterprise Program Management Office (EPMO) at headquarters, so stay in front of them to get the latest on the department’s cloud strategy.
  • VistA is expanding. The conversation around the fate of VistA, the department’s homegrown electronic health record, has been ongoing for years. But we’re now seeing some real movement in the form of the Digital Health Platform (DHP), which integrates data from VA, military and commercial electronic health records, as well as apps, devices and wearables so information is available to providers in real-time. VA wants to use the DHP to fundamentally transform the services they deliver to the veteran, as well as the way they access and manage those services internally. DHP includes modules supporting supply chain management, financial management, HR management and data interoperability through API integration. So watch this space for future interoperability projects with private medical providers and DOD.
  • The OI&T leadership structure is future-proofed. Over the last few years, the pace of change at the headquarters IT organization has accelerated, and the driver was a recognition that many of the department’s technology challenges came from a poorly-optimized leadership structure. New groups like the revamped CISO office, the EPMO, and the new IT Operations and Services (ITOPS) office were designed to protect forward momentum on strategic VA technology programs, even during a leadership vacuum or funding uncertainty.

For a deeper dive, check out the on-demand recording of IT Sales Opportunities at the VA: Everything You Need to Know but Were Afraid to Ask. Have you missed our other 2017 webinars? Click here to catch up.

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