GAO: HHS, Other Agencies Failed To Meet IT Development Goals

May 13, 2014 in News

HHS and four other federal agencies have failed to meet incremental development requirements for their IT projects, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office, FierceHealthIT reports.

Previously, federal agencies were required to deliver IT investment capabilities every 12 months, but they now are required to do so every six months. 

Report Details

For the report, GAO tracked IT development at five federal agencies:

  • Department of Defense;
  • Department of Homeland Security;
  • Department of Transportation;
  • Department of Veterans Affairs; and
  • HHS (Hall, FierceHealthIT, 5/9).  

Report Findings

GAO found that all five agencies had developed policies that address incremental development, but that only VA addressed the three components necessary for implementing the Office of Budget and Management’s guidance on such development.

Those components include:

  • Requiring delivery of functionality every six months;
  • Defining functionality; and
  • Defining a compliance enforcement process (GAO report, May 2014).

The report also found that:

  • Nearly three-quarters of IT investments made by the five federal agencies were not on schedule to deliver functionality within six months; and
  • Fewer than half of IT investments were on schedule to deliver functionality within 12 months.

In addition, VA was marked for all of the factors associated with inhibiting IT development progress except for two:

  • Procurement delays of development schedules; and
  • Technology selection.

Meanwhile, HHS was marked on all but one of the factors associated with inhibiting IT development progress, including:

  • Late funding;
  • Failure to prioritize requirements; and
  • Procurement delays.

HHS was not cited for a lack of supervision or governance.

The report concluded that without “consistent use of incremental development approaches, [IT] expenditures are more likely to continue to produce disappointing results” (FierceHealthIT, 5/9).

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