Pondering the squandering of taxpayer money on IT projects (US)

click to enlargeThe Gimlet Eye has been in Observation Mode this week. But this handful of Dust-In-Eye necessitates a Benny Goodman-style Ray on another US governmental ‘fail’. When it comes to IT, the government admits…

Agencies Have Spent Billions on Failed and Poorly Performing Investments

Exhibit #1: FierceHealthIT summarizes five big ones out of a 51-page Government Accountability Office (GAO) report focusing on the inefficiency of agency IT initiatives–just in healthcare.

  1. Veterans Affairs (VA) VistA EHR system transitioning to a new architecture: terminated October 2010 at a cost of $1.9 billion
  2. VA-Department of Defense (DOD) iEHR integration: as previously written about, it collapsed under its own weight for another $1 billion [TTA 8 March]
  3. DoD-VA’s Federal Health Care Center (FHCC). Opened in 2010 as a joint facility under a single authority line, but somehow none of the IT capabilities were up and running when the doors opened. ‘Jake, it’s ChiTown.’ Only $122 million.

  4. DoD’s own EHR, AHLTA (no VistA–that’s VA’s) still doesn’t work right; speed, usability and availability all problematic. A mere $2 billion over 13 years.
  5. VA’s outpatient system is 25 years old. Modernization failed after $127 million over 9 years before the plug was pulled in September 2009

You’ll need Iron Eyes to slog through the detail, but it is a remarkable and damning document. PDF (link)

but…there’s more. Excruciating, hair-hurting, and would be amusing if not so painfully, and expensively, inept. Malware Removal Gone Wild at Commerce

Exhibit #2:  At the US Economic Development Administration (EDA) section of the Commerce Department, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) notified EDA that some computers were infected with malware. The EDA’s chief IT officer stayed cool. To counter the security threat, he brought in four agencies including the NSA (National Security Agency) and NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), plus an outside security contractor to ‘go get it’, sought validation of a significant cyber attack, then ordered the destruction of $3 million in supposedly infected computers, keyboards, mice, TVs and cameras. He was only stopped–not fired, just stopped–after requesting $26 million for further recovery efforts. A strawberry hunt worthy of Captain Queeg. A report from Commerce’s Inspector General in excruciating detail paints the whole affair as worthy of Inspector Clouseau. TechRepublic goes to town on it; the IG report is almost hilarious if you did not consider furloughed employees, downsized military, a White House closed to tours, grounded Navy Blue Angels and Air Force Thunderbirds, cuts in Federal benefits….the list goes on.

The Gimlet Eye now goes in search of Needed Essential Adult Refreshment to kick off the weekend.

Categories: Latest News and Soapbox.

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