Weekly Round Up
Friday, January 19, 2018
The IBM Center's Weekly Roundup highlights articles and insights that we found interesting for the week ending January 19, 2018.

Michael J. Keegan

Senator seeks answers on pause in VA's Cerner deal. VA Secretary David Shulkin is under pressure to show progress on the planned acquisition of a commercial electronic health record system. The Department of Veterans Affairs is in the midst of what it's calling a "strategic pause" in its acquisition of a commercial electronic health care record system from Cerner, as it evaluates how the software VA is planning to buy works with other commercial systems. In prepared testimony for a Jan. 17 Senate hearing, he explained that MITRE is conducting an assessment of the "national interoperability language" in VA's request for proposal to Cerner as part of a sole source acquisition that is expected to cost $10 billion.

Shulkin: ‘VA still far short of bold, transformational change we need’ Vacancies —at least 35,000 health care professionals and four key leadership positions — are holding the Veterans Affairs Department back from true progress. That’s the message VA Secretary David Shulkin took to Congress Wednesday, as he detailed the status of several major initiatives that the department’s attempting to move on at breakneck speed.

DOD health record effort pivots to lessons learned.  The Department of Defense is in the midst of a multiyear rollout of its $4.3 billion electronic health record system, with initial efforts focused on facilities in the Pacific Northwest. To go by some recent accounts, the rollout has hit a wall, as program managers and contractors focus on an overwhelming volume of complaints and support requests. That's not quite right, according to Stacy Cummings, the official leading the acquisition and implementation of the MHS Genesis System, which is based on the commercial Cerner Millennium electronic health record.

DoD innovation chief nominee puts weight behind DIUx, wants to bridge ‘valley of death’ . As the Defense Department moves forward in splitting its acquisition office, the nominee for the first ever defense undersecretary for research and engineering is pledging to stand by the department’s established innovation hubs. Michael Griffin told lawmakers he would stand by some of the Obama era efforts to court companies that don’t traditionally work with DoD, push for rapid acquisition and create an atmosphere of innovation. Those efforts include organizations like the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx) and the Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO).

John Kamensky

Reinforcing CIO Authorities. According to Federal News Radio: “The White House is considering adding one more piece to its IT modernization strategy. The Trump administration is floating a draft executive order focused on, once again, defining the roles and authorities of agency chief information officers. . . . . The EO would cover every CFO Act agency except for the Defense Department.”

DOD’s Super-Sized Audit. Government Executive reports that Pentagon Comptroller David Norquist has announced that “the IG was assigning 1,200 auditors and independent public accounting firms was the culmination of decades of frustration and a congressionally mandated goal of creating auditable financial statements. And though lawmakers of both parties had backed legislation requiring such an audit, some in the auditing field worry that the effort—slated to cost $847 million—is too expensive.”

Doing Evidence Right. Shelley Metzenbaum and Steve Kelman wrote a commentary for PATimes noting: “The dominant view in the evidence-based government community is that we use evidence to figure out “what works,” and then direct resources toward what works and away from what does not. The view also holds that randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are the best method to produce evidence and that we should give pride of place to RCTs for the evidence in evidence-based government. Neither idea is completely mistaken. However, both have real limits we need to consider if we want to do evidence right.”

GSA Ramps Up e-Commerce Portal. FCW reports: “The General Services Administration is moving quickly to implement a provision in the 2018 defense bill that mandates government buyers be able to purchase items from commercial e-commerce portals

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The Business of Government Hour: Commander Eric Popiel, Program Manager for the US Coast Guard's Evergreen Program. How does the US Coast Guard use strategic foresight to inform decision making? What is the Evergreen process? How is the federal community sharing strategic foresight best practices? Join host Michael Keegan as he explores these questions and so much more with Commander Eric Popiel, Program Manager for the US Coast Guard's Evergreen Program.

 Broadcast Schedule: The show airs Monday at 11 a.m., and Friday at 1 p.m. on Federal News Radio 1500AM WFED

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