GAO Releases 2015 High Risk List

Every 2 years at the start of aGAO HIgh Risk Report new Congress, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) releases its report listing various federal programs it deems “high risk” due to vulnerabilities related to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement, or those in need of some form of transformation.

The 2015 update identified two new high-risk areas: Managing Risks and Improving VA Health Care and Improving the Management of IT Acquisitions and Operations.

“Too frequently, federal IT investments fail to be completed or incur cost overruns and schedule slippages while contributing little to mission-related outcomes,” said Gene Dodaro, comptroller general of the United States and head of the GAO said in a Feb. 11 statement accompanying the report’s release. During the past five years, GAO said it made more than 730 recommendations concerning IT acquisition; fewer than one quarter of those had been fully implemented as of January 2015.” (source: Federal Computer Week).

The GAO report specifically cites problems with the DOD and VA’s ongoing efforts to attain interoperability between its EHR systems. Two years ago, the two agencies announced they would halt efforts to create a joint, integrated EHR, putting focus instead on interoperability between their their respective EHRs.

From the report:

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“…as we have reported for  more than a decade, VA and the DOD lack electronic health records systems that permit the efficient electronic exchange of patient health information as military service members transition from DOD to VA health care systems. The two departments have engaged in a series of initiatives intended to achieve electronic health record interoperability, but accomplishment of this goal has been continuously delayed and has yet to be realized. The ongoing lack of electronic health record interoperability limits VA clinicians’ ability to readily access information from DOD records, potentially impeding their ability to make the most informed decisions on treatment options, and possibly putting veterans’ health at risk.”[/content_box]

Read the full GAO High Risk Report.