Program Spotlight: SMS-MHV-Sustainment Program


August 3, 2020

We met with Tom Hormby, Project Manager and Paul Graf, Director, VA Portfolio to discuss our work on the Systems Made Simple (SMS)-My HealtheVet (MHV) sustainment program in support of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

1. Can you tell us a little more about the SMS-MHV-Sustainment Program?

My HealtheVet (MHV) is an online resource that allows Veterans to access their health records, make appointments, refill prescriptions, and communicate with their health team via secure messaging. We provide system development and operations support to ensure sustainability of MHV. Our work consists of:

  1. implementing solutions for MHV change requests and defect reports
  2. working on high priority operational issues
  3. performing functional, regression, and smoke testing of development, production, and maintenance releases
  4. analyzing, resolving, or changing the status of trouble tickets using MHV Help Desk and Enterprise Service Desk tools

 
2. What are the top three things employees should know about the SMS-MHV-Sustainment Program?

  1. Since 2012, we have been supporting the MHV application and we are in the second year of our three-year sustainability contract. We support the development, testing, and Tier 3 Helpdesk capabilities for the National Portal, Health Record, Secure Messaging, Pharmacy, Appointments, Healthy Living Assessment, Patient Generated Data, Administration Portal, and Cerner Migration product lines of the MHV website.
  2. Cognosante’s work on the MHV Sustainment Program directly impacts veterans by improving or fixing their online ability to:
    1. refill prescriptions
    2. schedule appointments
    3. communicate with medical staff
    4. access health records
    5. self-report medical information (e.g. temperature, blood pressure, heartrate, etc.)
    6. assess their health via survey techniques
  3. MyHealtheVet can be accessed at: https://www.myhealth.va.gov/mhv-portal-web/home. Cognosante employee Veterans are encouraged to visit the website, register, and start using these services.


3. What are you looking forward to most because of this project?

Improving the Veteran experience by leveraging data analytics to reduce the time it takes to resolve user issues. For example, in July 2019 data analytics was used to identify problems users were having in accessing the MHV system. Data insights enabled us to take corrective action quickly and reduced the time it would have taken to otherwise identify the issue and implement a solution.

4. Are there any interesting facts you can share?

According to the MHV release manager, prior to the adoption of the DevOps model, MHV would deploy upgrades one a month for fixes and once a quarter for functional changes. Now the project deploys a combination of fixes and functional changes every two weeks and often as frequently as every four days for critical items. While smaller in scope, it gets changes to the end users quicker.

The MHV application has won a couple awards reflecting how the program is leading the charge in having development and operations teams work together to complete software development, faster. More here:

2019 Granicus Diffference Maker Award
2018 Government Innovation Award.