Weekly Roundup September 18, 2015
CIOs: 'A strategic partner, not a coder-in-chief'. Agency heads, acquisition officers and even CIOs don't need to be hard-core techies. FCW's four-part look at the expertise that's really required to make federal IT run. CIOs urged to flex their financial muscle. A retired general tells federal CIOs they need to stop wasteful spending before it gets started, and says they could have a powerful ally in their agency CFO. GAO Report Cites Deficiencies in VA's Benefits Management System. A Government Accountability Office report finds multiple deficiencies in the implementation of the Department of Veterans Affairs' benefits management system, including a lack of pension processing capabilities and user satisfaction goals. The system was put in place to clear VA's claims backlog by the end of this year, but GAO expects system development to continue past 2015. FierceHealthIT, GAO report. Study Finds Consumers Providers Differ on Preferred Uses of Health IT. A new study finds that while both consumers and providers view new health IT tools favorably, they differ in how patients should use such tools and who owns patients' electronic health records. For example, providers were less likely than consumers to be comfortable with patients using health IT tools for self-diagnosis and more likely to believe they owned patients' EHRs. FierceHealthIT, Journal of Medical Internet Research. Stakeholders Cautiously Optimistic About Proposed Health IT Safety 'Collaboratory'. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's proposal to create a national health IT safety "Collaboratory" has been met with both optimism and concerns. Stakeholders say they support the shared-responsibility mentality that's needed to improve health IT safety, but they question how effective the Collaboratory will be given its lack of regulatory authority and concerns about funding. Survey: Health Systems Interested in Analytics but Lack Clear Plans. A new Deloitte survey finds that IT leaders at hospitals and health systems believe effective data analytics programs are crucial to the success of value-based care, but many health systems lack coherent data analytics plans. In addition, many respondents have started working with data analytics without first developing a centralized analytics model and other critical components. Health Data Management, Deloitte survey. John Kamensky Data Center Consolidation: Source of IT Savings. According to Federal Times, a good news GAO report concludes: “Federal agencies saved some $3.6 billion in cost reductions and avoidance over three years by implementing a number of IT reforms, though more than half of that was a result of efforts to optimize and consolidate the government's many data centers.” Census Cracks Code on Streamlined Hiring. Federal News Radio reports that the Census Bureau applied business process management engineering techniques to its hiring process and “the bureau doubled the number of new hires from last fiscal year. For 2015 Census hired 407 external new hires, up from 237 in 2014.” GAO on Data Quality. We need more, writes GAO. Government Executive sums up a GAO report, noting: “Insufficient progress has been made,” after GAO reviewed a sample of 23 goals by six agencies in 2014 and 2015, and citizens “often end up finding no explanation of the quality of performance information” for the reports they post online regarding the progress they make on their priority goals. GAO on Designing Regulatory Fees. GAO has developed a guide for policymakers who design, implement, and evaluate regulatory fees imposed by agencies as diverse as EPA, FDA, and SEC. Maybe obscure, but important to those who care! New Executive Order on Using Social Behavioral Science. Government Executive reports that President Obama has signed an executive order praising the use of social behavioral sciences in improving agency results. According to Gov Exec: “Obama’s executive order formally established the White House’s Social and Behavioral Sciences Team and tasked agencies across government with finding the means to simplify access to their services and incentivize better decision making by end users. Part of that process will require a new emphasis by agencies to recruit behavioral scientists into their ranks.” DOD Sets Out to Revamp Its Personnel System, Again. Unions leaked a draft Defense proposal to revamp its personnel system, writes Federal News Radio. The Department says it needs new flexibilities for the 21st Century. The unions claim they are a bad flashback to the Bush Administration’s initiatives repealed a few years ago. CIO Survey Reveals Interesting Insights. Federal News Radio reports on the results of a survey of agency CIOs regarding their perspectives on issues ranging from procurement to cybersecurity to their use of US Digital Services and other Administration-touted tech initiatives (Note: registration required for access). The Business of Government Radio Show: Conversation with Martha Joyt Kumar, author of Before the Oath: How George W. Bush and Barack Obama Managed a Transfer of Power. What are the characteristics of a well-prepared, successful presidential transition? How does the 2008-2009 presidential transition represent a model to be followed by future incoming and outgoing administrations? What more can be done to enhance the presidential transition process? Join host Michael Keegan as he explores these questions and more with Martha Joynt Kumar. Broadcast Schedule: The show airs Monday at 11 a.m., and Friday at 1 PM, on Federal News Radio 1500AM WFED If you can't wait, though, you can listen to (or download) this week's program and all our previous interviews at businessofgovernment.org.