VA seeks info on cloud-based health care collaboration

The Veterans Affairs Department is seeking information about cloud-based collaborative tools that could improve communications between VA doctors and clinicians and reduce data breaches.

VA officials are seeking collaborative cloud-based tools that can integrate with existing VA systems such as Microsoft Exchange Calendaring, SharePoint and Active Directory and holds, at a minimum, Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) moderate certification.The RFI appears to tie into the VA’s plans to create a secure portal that would authenticate users and allow access to several popular commercial cloud-based applications. In July, during a conference call, Roger Baker, VA’s assistant secretary for information and technology and CIO, said VA clinicians are looking for tools to better do their job.The formal closing date for this RFI and responses to it is September 9, 2011. All responses should be submitted electronically using PDF, HTML, Microsoft Word or PowerPoint formats to the following email address with subject "RFI VA118-11-RI-0618":

The Veterans Affairs Department is seeking information about cloud-based collaborative tools that can improve communications for VA’s doctors and clinicians and cut down on data breaches.

The VA sent out a request for information Aug. 11 asking how collaborative tools deployed as cloud-based software-as-a-service offerings could improve veteran care, reduce the amount of time VA’s doctor’s spend on collaboration and prevent further data breached. According to the RFI, some VA data breaches have been caused by the lack of VA-approved collaborative tools.

The VA plans to pilot a cloud SaaS-based platform to VA staff physicians and residents. Up to 5,000 users will participate in the pilot. If successful and approved, the cloud solution has the potential to be expanded to a total of 134,000 VA medical personnel -- 17,000 staff physicians, 36,000 residents, and 81,000 others, the RFI states.

Related coverage:

VA to allow clinicians to access cloud applications