On May 31, Secretary of Veterans Affairs David J. Shulkin, MD, delivered his first ‘State of the VA’ address where he highlighted the activities and direction of the agency since his February appointment. Secretary Shulkin stated that he wanted to update Veterans on the progress the agency is making while also acknowledging the shortcomings that VA has identified and will address in the upcoming months.
The address covered a wide spectrum of issues within the VA, including access to care; community care and choice; accountability; and the quality of care provided to veterans. In addition, Secretary Shulkin identified multiple priorities, such as reducing backlogs and getting more veterans access to mental health care and suicide prevention programs.
During his remarks, one of these priorities mentioned was “improving IT Infrastructure.” Secretary Shulkin noted that through budgeting and modernization initiatives, VA hopes to address the current IT infrastructure by making key decisions on the VA’s IT infrastructure update by July 2017. These decisions will hope to modernize the IT system by considering commercial, cloud based solutions wherever possible. Secretary Shulkin also addressed plans to take immediate steps in dealing with out- of-date inventory systems, thus ensuring doctors and nurses have the proper supplies and equipment needed for care. HIMSS staff will continue to track these developments and provide any relevant updates.