The Veterans Administration's Plans To Convert the Automated Hospital Information System at the Washington, D.C., Medical Center

HRD-81-17: Published: Nov 6, 1980. Publicly Released: Nov 6, 1980.

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A review was made of Veterans Administration (VA) plans to upgrade the Automated Hospital Information System (AHIS) at the Washington, D.C., Medical Center by converting it to operate on newer computer equipment. This system, which provides automated assistance for such inpatient functions as admissions and discharges, scheduling, dietetics, radiology, and intensive care, has been in operation on the present computer since 1967. In September 1979, VA awarded a contract for nearly $900,000 to convert AHIS by reprograming it to operate on newer computer equipment because, according to VA, the current equipment was becoming less reliable. In April 1980, the Office of Management and Budget questioned whether adequate regard was given to less costly alternatives and whether appropriate procurement procedures were followed. VA terminated the contract to reevaluate its approach to the conversion before reissuing the request for proposals.

VA violated Federal procurement regulations in awarding the AHIS conversion contract. In addition, VA failed to follow its own procedures and the need to more fully consider other solutions to its AHIS conversion effort. It did not fully explore acquisition of available private sector or Government-owned hospital information systems for meeting the medical center's information needs in a more timely and less costly manner. VA also did not conduct the cost/benefit study required by its procedures to support the AHIS conversion procurement.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of VA should require that the cost/benefit study being made to justify the conversion approach consider the (1) impact on the Automated Hospital Information System conversion costs of the potential need for an additional computer system, and (2) benefits expected to result from the conversion, including user and automatic data processing personnel savings.

    Agency Affected: Veterans Administration

  2. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of VA should require that all identified alternatives for meeting the Washington Center's needs be fully explored, giving particular attention to less costly available private sector and Government-owned hospital information systems.

    Agency Affected: Veterans Administration

 

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