Federal Manager's Daily Report

Better project management and better planning were among

the recommendations the General Accounting Office made to


the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and the Department of

Defense to improve an area critical to VA’s information

technology efforts, the existence and availability of

electronic patient records.

GAO said little progress had been made since last fall when

it found that one-way information had been realized between

the two departments. It said that while department officials

recognize the importance of an information architecture to

making their health systems compatible, the one they rely on

is too non-specific — a high level strategy in place since

September 2002.

VA officials said they were in the early stages of defining

a better electronic interface for data exchange between

departments, veterans, military personnel and their health

care providers, but GAO said that effort was marred by a

lack of sound project management to guide interdepartmental

actions. Neither department has the authority to bind the

other to any decision, GAO said.