VA awards $12 billion for infotech work, including health IT

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is hoping to upgrade and "transform" its information systems through a series of 14 recently awarded contracts worth $12 billion. Among the recipients are Hewlett Packard, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Harris Corp.

Under the Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology program, known as T4, the VA will modernize all of its systems. The upgrade will encompass program management and strategy planning; systems and software engineering; enterprise network, test and evaluation; independent verification and validation; cyber security; operations and maintenance; and training and IT facility support.

The VA is also in the process of upgrading its decades-old VistA EHR by using open-source technology. While the agency didn't specify how the T4 contracts would support that effort, its press release stated:

"One of VA's main goals is to provide timely access to benefits and high-quality health care to Veterans over their lifetimes, from the day they enter military service until the day they are laid to rest. T4 will be a major tool enabling VA to meet those goals by closing gaps in transforming programs."

Last week, the VA announced it had begun the implementation of an open-source community based on VistA. The VA has selected a private company to design and establish a custodial agent to govern the community.

"Our EHR is central to the quality of care we provide to Veterans," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "As we continually advance the health care we deliver, so too must we advance the capability of EHR software. Moving to an open source model invites innovation from the public and private sectors."

To learn more:
- Read the VA press release on the T4 contracts
- See the press release on the VistA community
- Check out the InformationWeek article

Related content:
Custodial agent for updating VA's VistA to launch in August
CONNECT to undergo facelift with help of federal grant

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