New VA scheduling system won't be fully deployed until 2020

Although the Department of Veterans Affairs plans to award a contract for a new scheduling system within months, that system won't be fully functional at VA facilities nationwide until 2020, reports Nextgov.

The VA has issued a draft Request for Proposal for the development of a new scheduling system, with the full RFP expected to be released in October, according to Politico, which quoted an a VA representative saying the contract is to be awarded in January, with the system to be rolled out incrementally over the next two years.

Citing contract documents, however, Nextgov reports that an alpha version is to be deployed to the first 300 users at two hospitals in 2016, followed by a beta version to 700 users at five hospitals in 2017 and full deployment at all 153 hospitals in 2020.

Once the full RFP is issued, vendors will have 30 days to respond.  

In July, acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson told a House VA committee hearing that the timeline was a "bit up in the air," but the new system would be deployed in 2016.

A private-sector team from the Northern Virginia Technology Council, including representatives from Booz Allen Hamilton, HP, IBM, MITRE Corp. and SAIC, is conducting a review of the scheduling system behind the scandal involving employees who allegedly falsified data to cover up the long patient waits for appointments, FCW reports.

In 2009, the VA canceled an eight-year development project to update its scheduling system after it spent $167 million, saying the project failed to deliver promised capabilities. It announced in June it would turn to the private sector to find replacement technology.

Incremental implantation of the new system will be a complex project with new modules rolled out while the IT team focuses on not breaking existing system that manages more than 260,000 patient appointments a day, according to fedscoop.

To learn more:
- read the Nextgov article
- here's the draft RFP
- check out the Politico post
- here's the FCW report
- read the fedscoop story