Health Case Study - Veterans Health Affairs Business Architecture Integration (BAI)

The T&H Team was contracted by Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Office of Health Information (OHI) Health Systems (HS) Business Architecture Service to provide technical strategy services. These services facilitate collaboration between the BA business units, and assist in identifying and disseminating strategic guidance, informing business requirements management, supporting leadership decision-making, and promoting VA/VHA information and data architecture integration. The T&H Team is supporting this collaboration through the development of products and services that cross organizational boundaries and promote the development of a synergistic relationship among those units for a wide range of health business capabilities and services. This includes Common Systems within the agency, Joint Interoperability efforts between agencies, including BA’s involvement and coordination with DoD, MHS, VA and VHA leadership efforts such as the iEHR, the Integrated Architecture Specification Report (iASR), the Health Systems Integration Methodology (HSIM), and the Common Information Interoperability Framework (CIIF). These are only a sampling of some of the projects conducted for this contract.

Integrated Electronic Health Record (iEHR): In support of this effort, the BAI team facilitates collaboration between VA and DoD to create common standards, methodologies, tools, techniques, and deliverables to which all iEHR-related work involving DoD and VA will adhere. The primary objective is to facilitate the capability of healthcare staff from both VA and DoD to use a common system to manage patients’ health care data across the agencies, utilizing data from CPRS, VistA, CHCS and AHLTA.

Business Architecture Services: The T&H Team serves as an interface between the operational units within BA, in particular, the Planning and Information Architecture Unit Lead, Operational Architecture Support Unit Lead, and Chief Health Systems Architect, to ensure that the products and services developed by the other business units (BPA, BRA and BAI) were consumable by the receiving organizations, and their individual efforts were properly leveraged. The deliverables developed during the period of performance were both strategic in nature (Guiding Principles, Operational Improvement Strategy, Risk Management and Configuration Management Plans, and the Tooling Transition Strategy) and tactical (Stakeholder Contact List, Work Effort Intake Portal, Business Architecture Glossary), and served to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of BA.

The T&H Team also develops comprehensive Business Architecture briefings that provides a narrative and visual depiction of the layers and components of the VHA Business Architecture iEHR products. These briefings provide a clear depiction of the touch points with other business-focused entities within VHA (i.e., RAEM) and the VA architecture community (i.e., OIT). The briefings also serve primarily as a companion document to the more technically-focused models for the Business Architecture Integration Methodology (BAIM). BAI’s initial preparation and continual review of these briefing materials positioned and supported BA as an equal partner in each of these collaborative efforts, and ensured coordination between all involved parties.

In addition, The T&H Team is in the process of converting the current Work Effort Spreadsheet from Excel into a Microsoft Access database solution. The previous data capture mechanism had become unwieldy and difficult for the end user to manage. During this effort, the existing data has been cleansed and normalized, and business rules that were not enforceable through the Excel spreadsheet as well as relationships between the data, were built into the repository structure. The solution will also accumulate historical activity in the background that can be reported on. This new solution will also allow the user to identify timeframes at the activity and phase levels to monitor schedule slippage, and to better track resources at both the work effort and the activity level. These improvements will empower BA to increase their effectiveness, anticipate future staffing needs, and improve resource planning and utilization.