OIT Aggressively Pursuing Modernization of VA Network
Even though many Veterans may never think about the VA network, its viability and modernization are essential to VA’s ability to serve Veterans today and in the future.
Picture a vibrant web of vital data continually moving between the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) databases, medical devices, and service delivery locations as millions of Veterans receive care and services each day. Even though many Veterans may never think about the VA network, its viability and modernization are essential to VA’s ability to serve Veterans today and in the future. The Office of Information and Technology (OIT) is aggressively pursuing modernization—closing a major national data center, relocating 70 Veterans Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA) databases, migrating VistA databases to a fully virtualized Linux platform, and developing a proof of concept of VistA in the VA enterprise cloud.
What does all this mean for Veterans? OIT is modernizing to meet Veteran needs and working behind the scenes to support VA operations. By moving away from older legacy and proprietary hardware, facilitating vital network connections even as IT tools change, ensuring ample data storage capacity, and seeking new IT efficiencies, OIT is aligning its IT systems to better support the Veterans they serve.
Constant connectivity and ready access to data do not happen automatically. Across VA, OIT enables the hosting and sharing of the immense amount of information required to provide care and services to Veterans. For example, OIT connects sophisticated medical devices used to perform electrocardiography (EKG), mammography, and other testing to the network so that health care providers can access results. OIT also works with providers to design interfaces to enable critical functions like the documentation and retrieval of doctors’ orders and call-in medication refill requests.
Given how central IT functionality is to VA operations, OIT set a very aggressive timeline for these modernization projects. By the end of October 2019, 70 VistA databases will be moved from the soon-to-be closed St. Louis Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Defense Enterprise Computing Center (DECC) to their new location, the Philadelphia Information Technology Center. At the same time, OIT is also engineering the VistA platform to operate in the VA enterprise cloud, planning to pilot a VistA production database in the cloud, and continuing to conduct VistA migrations in most of the western United States.
Multiple database moves have been scheduled about every weekend throughout the summer. The work is conducted on Saturdays when there is less activity, making the one hour of database downtime required for each move less impactful on Veterans and stakeholders.
These latest modernization projects are just some of the ways OIT is driving innovation, enhancing the customer experience, and making a difference in the lives of Veterans. As technology advances and business requirements change, OIT will continue to aggressively pursue modernization and improve customer service to meet the needs of Veterans today and in the future.