IT dashboard slows rush to proprietary VA software

Among the biggest projects halted by the government's IT Dashboard is a Cerner project to run the VA's labs under its proprietary scheme rather than the open source VistA system.

The Veterans Administration's decision to put a temporary hold on 45 projects that had fallen behind schedule is giving it a chance to re-evaluate, and perhaps reverse, the Bush Administration's move toward contracts and proprietary software within the agency.

Among the biggest projects halted by the government's IT Dashboard is a Cerner project to run the VA's labs under its proprietary scheme rather than the open source VistA system.

About one-quarter of the VA's tech budget is now on hold.

In addition to the Cerner project, three tele-health projects were also halted for missing deadlines.

Reaction to the halts is mostly positive, with VA Watchdog Larry Scott praising VA Secretary Shinseki for making good on promises.  Others say CIO Roger Baker is earning his reputation as a rock star.

Of course, as Nextgov blogger Robert Charette notes, it is one thing to call a halt to what is not working, something else to plan a path that does.

The result of the coming audits could be some shuffling of personnel, or contracts may actually be cancelled. If they are, the question then becomes how the VA will get the work done.

Does it have the nerve to just hire programmers and release the resulting code?

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