Weekly Roundup: August 10-21, 2015
Developing Common Success Metrics for VA-DOD Health Records. According to FedScoop: “The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Pentagon need to better track their efforts to share health information, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.” GAO says the two departments have developed guidance to move toward standardization, but have yet to develop metrics to track whether progress is being made. Useful: FCC RoboCall App. According to FedScoop, the Federal Trade Commission sponsored a contest to find the best way of blocking robocalls. The winners received a $25,000 prize and has a Kickstarter campaign underway to make the app more widely available. Should Government Dump Performance Ratings? Howard Risher writes in Government Executive about how General Electric is dramatically revising its performance rating system and suggests there might be lessons for the federal rating system. Yelp Ratings for Government. Promised months ago, pilot programs to allow agency customers to rate their experiences real-time are now available in selected agencies near you! According to the Washington Post, the Transportation Security Administration is the first to roll out kiosks in airports to allow customers to rate their experiences. Victoria McFadden, deputy chief customer officer with the General Services Administration’s Office of Customer Experience, said: “This is the first time we’ve had a real-time effort to measure customer service. . . We want to see if there’s something agencies will react to if it’s real- time data.” Pentagon Reforms Underway. Federal News Radio reports that Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work issued a July 24 memo titled “Implementation of Institutional Reform Opportunities,” that is “directly targeted at reducing headcount and addressing the perceived problem of too many supervisors and organizations managing too few front-line workers.” He “tasked DoD’s deputy chief management officer, Peter Levine, to come up with a “delayering” strategy for all of the organizations that fall within the sprawling Office of the Secretary of Defense.” Simplify VA’s Many Websites. Next Gov reports on an interview with VA Secretary Bob McDonald, where he says: “The Department of Veterans Affairs needs to make its online services easier for veterans to navigate . . ."If I went to a veteran and said, 'What's Blue Button?' they would have no idea," he said, referring to the service that lets veterans download their electronic medical records. "Our websites have unusual names," he said, referring to MyHealtheVet, which has access portals for health records, prescriptions and other services. "What's wrong with 'veterans.gov,' or 'vets.gov'?" . . . Hasn’t anyone told him that those web addresses are owned by the Department of Labor already! (No wonder vets are confused!) Open Data Toolkit Now Available. Federal Times reports: “Federal agencies are under mandate to push more data out to the public but with so much being collected on a daily basis, it can be difficult to know where to start. . . .To help with this, the Federal CIO Council developed the Open Data Prioritization Toolkit outlining which data pose the most risk if released, which sets have the most interest to the general public (and could create the most value for the government) and guidelines on cost. How USDA Uses Predictive Analytics to Cut Food Stamp Fraud. According to Federal News Radio: “About a year ago, the Government Accountability Office took a look at the program and made recommendations that the Food and Nutrition Service reassess the detection tools that were being used. Today, FNS is cracking down on SNAP trafficking with predictive analysis.” Defense Health Agency Nearing Operational Status. Created two years ago, the Defense Health Agency has an October 1st deadline to be operational. According to Federal News Radio: “Dave Bowen, the DHA chief information officer, said the military services on July 29 approved his office’s concept of operations for the health care IT shared services. He said it’s one of the criteria they have to achieve to reach full operational capability”. . . .’We have stood up 10 shared services, streamlined processes in both our clinical and business operations and standardized things across the enterprise where it has made sense while preserving the uniqueness of each service’s medical capability.’” Bring Your Own Forks & Knives. Government Executive reports: “In a decision that was five years in the making, government auditors have ruled that federal employees are on their own when it comes to disposable cups, plates and cutlery. . . Upon reconsideration of a decision originally released in December, the Government Accountability Office determined appropriated funds at the National Weather Service “are not available to purchase such items since they constitute personal expenses of employees.” Michael Keegan DOD sets up cyber workforce council. Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work has set up an intra-department council to manage cyber workforce issues at the Defense Department. Work’s directive, dated Aug. 11, tasks the council with ensuring the Pentagon takes a holistic, or “total force management,” perspective to filling out the department’s cyber workforce needs with civilian, military and contracting personnel. The idea is to avoid duplication and omissions in responding to all of the cyber-related skillsets demanded by DOD officials. Widespread Use of Yammer Social Network at VA Ran Afoul of Agency Rules, Watchdog Says. A well-meaning effort by Department of Veterans Affairs leaders to fuel productivity and cooperation through workflow tool Yammer ran afoul of department regulations and at times devolved into agency bashing and the potential for data breaches, according to an internal probe. Moving from oversight to outcomes with FITARA. The law's success hinges on a culture change from blame-setting to measuring progress toward desired goals. 6 hidden hotspots in federal IT. The budget meetings might happen in Washington, but agency IT has some surprising centers of gravity. Telehealth Patient Engagement Program Tied to Better Outcomes. A study finds that VOX Telehealth's OrthoCare Program is associated with shorter hospital stays for knee and hip replacement patients. The platform engages patients for 30 days before surgery and for 60 to 90 days afterward. mHealthNews, VOX Telehealth release. * * * * * The Business of Government Radio Show. What are the key priorities for CMS’s Center for Program Integrity? How is it moving beyond the “pay and chase” approach to combating fraud, waste, and abuse? What innovative technologies is it using? Join host Michael Keegan as he explores these questions and more with Dr. Shantanu Agrawal, Deputy Administrator & Director, Center for Program Integrity, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Broadcast Schedule: The show airs Monday at 11 a.m., and Wednesday at noon, on Federal News Radio 1500AM WFED If you can't wait, though, you can listen to (or download) this week's program and all our previous interviews at businessofgovernment.org.