The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) established an Interagency Program Office (IPO) to serve as the single point of accountability for the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in the development and implementation of electronic health care record systems. One of the IPO’s main responsibilities has been to facilitate and manage all of the internal, as well as external organizations involved in the development of the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) system.
The IPO faced numerous challenges in managing the development of the VLER system—the most significant being the coordination of efforts among work teams from the DoD and the VA, as well as from third-party organizations. Each work team had to reach across organizational boundaries to communicate with work teams from other departments and organizations. Without a single collaboration site, the IPO had no way to effectively organize, store or standardize the exchange of information between agencies and third-party organizations.
Innovative-e designed and built a project management information system (PMIS) Virtual Collaboration Site (VCS) for the IPO using out-of-the-box SharePoint technology hosted on a MOSS 2007 Standard platform. The system made processes repeatable and standardized communication among work teams for all aspects of the management of the VLER project. The VCS site is now the critical “homebase” that brings together all internal and external work teams.
The first step involved standardizing processes and defining key terms to create one version of the truth about the project. This included standardizing the language, metrics and concepts associated with the project.
Prior to the VCS, e-mail documents and other files resided on individual hard drives, making it difficult for users to quickly locate and share files. Now through the VCS, all work teams are able to upload documents locally and share them with each authorized organization through a single document repository. In addition, a notifications alert system automatically contacts users when documents are modified or new documents are uploaded. The entire system integrates with programs such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio and Microsoft Project.
The VCS is designed with reporting capabilities that are multilevel and streamlined to meet ad hoc inquiries by congressional committees, executive committees and project participants with “dashboard” style reports. Specific items can be flagged to “roll up” to the executive-level decision makers, reducing the amount of data executives have to sift through to obtain the information that is relevant to them. To make decisions and reporting more transparent, the system also includes a “decision and directions” feature that records final decisions or changes.
The VCS site serves as a tool to organize and standardize meetings. Meetings are now listed in a central calendar, which can be accessed by all approved parties. Meeting materials, including notes, agendas, action items, documents and meeting summaries are now available on a single page for each user to access.
To standardize the definition of risk and the process of evaluating risk, Innovative-e established a risk indicator formula to measure the total impact changes in cost, schedule and performance.
VCS includes a “lessons learned” section where work teams can share information and exchange ideas and best practices. The documents are archived and available for future users.
The VCS provides a one-stop location for work teams, as well as the following benefits: