From conference call to conference hall, there is an ongoing dialogue between the Department of Defense and the Defense Health Agency about how to best equip our nation’s military with the health services they need to continuing fighting the good fight.
A voice that stands out from the conversation is DHA Component Acquisition Executive (J-4) and Head of Contracting Actions (HCA) Dr. Barclay P. Butler, Ph.D., who has over 35 years of experience as a military and civilian Healthcare Information Technologist supporting the delivery of healthcare IT services.
A member of the Senior Executive Service (SES), Butler’s work on improving quality of care, military readiness and reducing cost has made a definitive impact on the way DHA acquires its products and services.
In a recent interview with Business of Government on the question of what are the strategic priorities for the DHA, Butler makes a point that:
“Acquisition in the DHA is a lot different than what you see in the DoD at large. One of my priorities is to find out if we are doing the best practices in acquisition…when the budgets shrink I don’t have the luxury of not doing my best. I have to do my job as effectively as I can–more than just a migration of models from one organization to another–I want it to be an active decision.”
Butler continues stressing the importance of being proactive in the industry.
“This is a way that we can further leverage the efficiency of having a defense health agency–today we have literally thousands of contracts that buy contracted doctors and nurses–we’ve created a single, strategic sourcing vehicle that will allow all the medical treatment facilities to use (common terms and conditions, pricing) across the nation.”
For the end to justify the means on DHA’s strategy map, Butler embraces the “agile” principles to deliver change from a “ready medical force” to a “medically ready force.”
“Agile implementation is a concept that came out of the software development industry. It was a concept that doesn’t look at surrogates of measures of performance–it looks at the software itself. It allows you to evolve the requirements; under “waterfall” requirements are fixed, cost and schedule change; agile, cost and schedule are fixed, requirements can fluctuate–as the software continues to develop the customer gets a better product because they get to shape it.”
When a door opens into public service, Butler is someone who confidently walks through.
As the J-4, Barclay P. Butler is responsible for oversight and approval of all acquisition matters for the DHA, including those undertaken by the Program Executive Officers, as well as the Agency’s directorates and offices. Prior to this he was the Director of Healthcare Technology Integration for the DHA, and served as the Acting Chief for Infrastructure and Operations (I&O), Health IT Directorate, DHA. As a health technology integrator, he was responsible for progress toward a fully interoperable healthcare record for the DoD through coordination efforts with Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the National Coordinator (ONC), other federal agencies, private sector health delivery organizations, and Standards Development Organizations (SDOs). In support of Infrastructure and Operations, Butler was responsible for designing, deploying, securing, operating and maintaining the IT environment supporting all healthcare operations in the DHA.