Say “Yes” to Innovation

Staff | Healthcare Financial Management Association | March 1, 2012

Tablets and smartphones hold great potential to improve veterans’ care, believes VA CIO Roger Baker. “As IT head, my job is to make sure we can support mobile platforms.”

Last October, Roger Baker, the CIO of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), authorized a pilot test of 1,000 iPads in VA hospitals and other settings. VA employees will be given permission to connect to the VA network via personal iPhones and iPads, initially with read-only permission and no storage of Veterans’ personal data. Eventually, Androids and other mobile devices will be able to connect as well.

Within two years, Baker expects to have 100,000 mobile tablets in use across VA, helping to support the delivery of evidence-based medicine. “I think we have issued our last desktop purchase procurement,” he says, “and those will run for about five years. Longer term, we will not have any desktop computers.”

Reactions to the VA’s iPad deployment vacillate between praise and concerns about veterans’ information getting hijacked by cyber thieves. But this was not a decision made on the fly, says Baker, emphasizing VA’s mission-critical stance on protecting veterans’ information...