VA halts 45 health IT projects

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The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will temporarily halt 45 IT projects which are either behind schedule or over budget. The projects will be reviewed, and the agency will determine whether they will be continued.

VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki ordered a review of the department's 300 IT projects and implementation of the Program Management Accountability System (PMAS), designed to increase the department's accountability for IT projects. 

The agency said that no further development will occur and expenditures will be minimized on the 45 projects. A new project plan that meets the requirements of PMAS must be created by the project manager and approved by the VA's assistant secretary for information and technology before resuming.

PMAS is a management protocol that requires projects to establish milestones to deliver new functionality to its customers. Failure to meet set deadlines indicates a problem within the project. Under PMAS, a third missed customer delivery milestone is cause for the project to be halted and re-planned. 

"PMAS and the IT Dashboard will be critical indicators of whether our IT projects are on schedule and on budget, and if they are not, we will take swift action to cut down on waste and redundancy," said Roger W. Baker, the VA's assistant secretary for information and technology.

The agency said that PMAS, in conjunction with the analytical tools available through the IT Dashboard, will ensure early identification and correction of problematic IT projects. The IT Dashboard, launched in June, is a one-stop clearinghouse of information, allowing Americans to track federal IT initiatives and hold the government accountable for progress and results.

Over the next year, all IT projects at the VA will be required to move to PMAS, according to VA officials.

Some of the projects included in the temporary halt include:

  • Health Data Repository II;
  • Document & Ancillary Imaging;
  • Home Telehealth Development;
  • Occupational Health Record Keeping System;
  • Barcode Expansion;
  • Home Telehealth Infrastructure Enhancements;
  • Radiology Outside Reporting;
  • Radiology HL7 Interface Update;
  • National Teleradiology Program;
  • Master Patient Index; and
  • Radiology Standardization.