Posted and filed under Healthcare.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is one of many federal departments taking part in a pattern of increased spending for Health IT security initiatives. Even in the midst of sequestration, or the taking of assets until a debt is paid off, federal health agencies have upped their information technology expenditure by 27% this year.

HHS subdivision, widely known as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), racked up the highest bill. Nearly $13 billion was spent by CMS in contract obligations alone over the course of four fiscal years. This comes from a report run by Govini, who examined federal spending in order to illuminate government investments and the restructuring of industry standards. CMS is HHS’ biggest spender, accounting for nearly 50% of HHS budget spending.

These monumental investments are intended to modernize the healthcare system and to restructure the departments through foundation improvements in call center operations, IT infrastructure, and the enhancement of data centers. Cybersecurity awareness is in full-swing, as the value of hijacked records and data increases almost daily – and the migration of health care data to secure Virtual Data Centers has become a desired goal in order to increase confidentiality.

The Defense Health Agency (DHA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are projected to rival the numbers of HHS spending. Networks and tightened security are the main drivers in VA spending. The VA intends to increase the accessibility of Telehealth to veterans. Federal Health Agencies will use a portion of their $1.2 billion Telehealth Initiative budget will be used to fund VA accessibility improvements and network modernization.

DHA is focusing its spending on patient-system modernization and interoperability, often in conjunction with the DoD Healthcare Management Systems Modernization program (DHMSM). These two departments are focusing on improvements to EHR programs across the federal government sector.