VA cloud pilot could impact 134K medical workers

Privacy and communications issues surround planned pilot testing of cloud-based tools by the Department of Veterans Affairs that could impact as many as 134,000 VA medical workers. Specifically, the VA wants to move its Microsoft Exchange-based collaboration system to a cloud-based system, according to InformationWeek

The issues date back to last December, FierceGovernmentIT reported last month, when doctors and residents at several VA hospitals used GoogleDocs and Yahoo Calendar to manage their workflow. By storing patient information in each application, however, patient information was put at risk, according to Roger Baker, the VA's chief information officer. 

Baker admitted, though, that such tools were "easier to use and more broadly available."

Currently, the VA is in search of an established cloud-based vendor, according to a Federal Business Opportunities notice posted Aug. 11. Ultimately, the VA said its tools need to meet Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) standards. 

Once established, the tools will be tested on 5,000 VA doctors and residents, according to the notice. The pilot would expand to 17,000 VA physicians, 36,000 residents and 81,000 other medical personnel if deemed a success. 

To learn more:
- read this InformationWeek article
- check out the Federal Business Opportunities notice
- here's the FierceGovernmentIT piece from July