On June 7, the US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) issued a request for information (RFI) regarding how blockchain technology could be used to simplify and streamline the department's contract procedures, specifically when contracts are closed out. The RFI specifies that it was "issued solely for information and planning purposes – it does not constitute a Request for Proposal (RFP) or a promise to issue an RFP in the future."
According to the Performance Work Statement (PWS) released alongside the RFI, the close-out process currently requires many repetitive steps to gather and verify pre-existing documented information, and the VA believes that blockchain technology may be a means to alleviate almost all of the labor currently required.
The PWS states that if the VA determines blockchain to be a cost-effective and transparent solution, a proof of concept (PoC) will need to be developed. Upon completion of the PoC, the VA would issue a report laying out how blockchain technology could be utilized, a timeline, and a life-cycle cost analysis.
The document goes on to say:
"If Blockchain technology presents itself as a viable solution, in terms of cost effectiveness, speed, and enhanced precision relative to Government contract close-outs, the Government anticipates a follow-on contract to a vendor who has the demonstrated technological expertise and experience to implement Blockchain technologies into current Department of Veterans Affairs ("VA") processes and its various software applications."
This is not the first time the VA has looked to blockchain technology to help improve its service to US veterans. In January, the VA sought proposals on how to improve health data sharing and interoperability through blockchain technology.