VA Issues RFP for New Scheduling System To Address Care Delays

November 27, 2014 in News

The Department of Veterans Affairs has issued a request for proposal for a new medical appointment scheduling system, following reports that its old system resulted in care delays,  Health Data Management reports (Slabodkin, Health Data Management, 11/26).

Background

In August, VA announced that it would begin searching for a contractor to develop the agency’s new scheduling system following allegations that long wait times and secret electronic waiting lists could have led to the deaths of several veterans (iHealthBeat, 8/26).

Details of RFP

According to the RFP, prospective vendors must provide a system that can “deliver core capabilities” to all VA medical centers within two years of receiving the contract (Health Data Management, 11/26). The contract will be awarded for five years, with the option of two one-year additions.

The RFP lists seven core capabilities proposed systems must be able to do:

  • Execute, monitor and report on appointment, cancellation, rescheduling and notification processes;
  • Include special needs and preference information in patients’ data;
  • Integrate services across VA facilities;
  • Manage care requests and store the requests and the preferred appointment dates for subsequent reporting;
  • Monitor appointment check-ins, encounter events, check-outs and follow-up appointments;
  • Organize national operating standards that can be customized to meet local needs; and
  • Produce capacity management reports (Boyd, Federal Times, 11/24).

According to Health Data Management, remaining capabilities will be implemented across the country in incremental developments through the rest of the contract term.

Proposals are due Jan. 9, 2015, and VA plans to award the contract by the spring.

Scheduling System Modifications

VA also announced several upcoming changes to its current scheduling system. Those modifications include:

  • Awarding a contract to boost the current scheduling system interface;
  • Improving schedulers’ calendar view of resources; and
  • Developing mobile applications that let veterans directly ask for certain primary care and mental health services (Health Data Management, 11/24).
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