The troubled effort by the departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense to combine their electronic health records into a single system has partially met goals set by Congress. But investigators say improvement is needed before more funding can be allocated to the initiative.
Recent revelations of widespread government surveillance, or the "Snowden effect," may have given the practice of digital monitoring a bad rap, but a Health and Human Services Department official says proactive social media monitoring can drive positive citizen services.
The Food and Drug Administration is building an "innovative technology environment," which relies in part on cloud computing to handle an influx of big data as well as tools to identify, extract and analyze information, the regulatory agency's chief health informatics officer wrote in an agency blog.
Better identity management solutions could go a long way in encouraging electronic health record adoption among patients and providers nationwide, said a Health and Human Services Department official June 19. Many of the health information technology efforts spearheaded by HHS's Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT rely heavily on credentials and authentication.
After several draft versions, a request for proposal for the Defense Department's highly-anticipated electronic health record is taking shape. Draft solicitations for the DoD's Healthcare Management System Modernization, or DHMSM, have been updated several times since DoD issued its first acquisition draft document in January.
Within months the Veterans Affairs Department plans to issue a request for proposal for the purchase of a new patient scheduling module that would work within the Veterans Health Information System Technology Architecture, or VistA.
By January 2013 all Veterans Affairs Department websites were required to conform with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, but not only are many VA websites non-compliant, the department lacks a clear timeline for meeting the requirement. Section 508 requires federal agencies to make electronic content and information technology accessible to people with disabilities.
With a number of critical Veterans Affairs Department IT projects hanging in the balance, the Veterans Health Administration has decided to lean on the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University for independent strategic technical advice and analysis of its performance improvement and transformation activities. In the longer term, it could contract out its entire health IT oversight office.
The fiscal 2015 Veterans Affairs Department appropriations bill (H.R.4486) passed in the House with restrictions on the department's electronic health record modernization program.
The FBI is warning healthcare providers that lax cybersecurity standards will leave their computer systems more vulnerable to hackers as the industry transitions to electronic health records.