Picture all the technology necessary to make a hospital run — heart monitors, EKG machines, ultrasound imaging devices, and more operate around the clock every day to ensure patients can receive the highest quality care. However, tablets and all-in-one computers, may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Thanks to two new contracts for ruggedized and medical grade tablets, all-in-ones, mini-computers and high-performance computers, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) clinicians and staff will have consistent, simplified access to these tools that make their jobs easier and improve the Veteran experience.
Previously, medical-grade and high-performance computer devices were procured across the Department at local facilities or at the Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) level. With more than 20 VISNs encompassing 148 different locations, this resulted in lack of standardization across devices, limited opportunity for volume price discounts, lack of published and enforced security baselines, and an increased burden on the Office of Information and Technology to support multiple drivers, customizations to commercial off-the-shelf software, security, and maintenance.
The solution? Enterprise-wide procurement contracts to cover the entire VA community. This practice maximizes spend under management and helps the Department improve and align its category management practices. VA is currently one or two premier agencies for category management principles.
Together with partners across the Office of Information and Technology and the Technology Acquisition Center, Electronic Health Record Management team, and Defense Medical Logistics Standard Support application users, two contracts were developed to ensure standardized hardware baselines for these specialized devices, at the same time increasing purchasing power and reducing procurement overhead.
The team awarded two individual contracts: one provides ruggedized tablets with embedded bar code label scanners, and another to provide medical-grade tablets, fanless medical grade all-in-one devices, high-performance PCs, and fanless mini-computers. These medical-grade devices contribute to a hospital’s sterile environment by not circulating dust or particles that may pass on infectious diseases to users. Additionally, these devices reduce power consumption and save battery life by generating less heat. The total award value was just under half the original estimated cost based upon historical pricing, allowing limited infrastructure improvement funds to be stretched further to other critical needs.
These new devices meet OEHRM’s specifications for memory and storage, allowing for multi-user use and includes docking stations and swappable batteries for increased portability. All the medical grade devices come with antimicrobial surfaces and can be safely cleaned with common medical cleaning products to contribute to infection control.
The secret to the team’s success? Constant collaboration between the Office of Strategic Sourcing, project managers, and internal VA customers. By leveraging economies of scale and VA’s consolidated purchasing power, providing other internal customers to utilize the contract, and developing brand agnostic requirements to drive vendor competition, the team ensured the devices could be procured quickly and realized significant cost savings. This achievement demonstrates the value that strategic sourcing and category management practices provide to the Department.
Our commitment to digital and IT transformation is shaped by daily dedication to customer service and the close collaboration of our workforce, managers, and leaders. Ready to join us in improving Veterans’ care? Check out all current information and technology career opportunities on DigitalVA. You can also contact VA’s Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer at 512-326-6600, Monday thru Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST or by submitting a resume to VACareers@va.gov.