VA's IT management moves forward

Two years into his modernization campaign, CIO Baker reports progress

IT management has moved forward in several critical ways at the Veterans Affairs Department.

Henry Kenyon of Government Computer News reported on VA CIO Roger Baker's progress in areas such as customer service, data processing and health records management, and cost savings.

Speaking at an industry event, Baker said the cost savings were not a goal but have been a side effect of increasing IT capability at VA.

Baker joined the agency in 2009 with the marching orders of transforming how IT is managed there.

Baker killed some underperforming programs in order to put the department's resources to work on others that could be turned around. For example, VA’s online pharmacy tools and the New GI Bill program were rescued from potential oblivion.

The GI Bill recovery was particularly satisfying because at one point supporters in Congress were convinced that it was beyond hope. With some radical re-engineering, Baker said, the revamped system is due to be fully implemented by Aug. 1.

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