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Ektropy Tool Standardizes DHA Program & Portfolio Management

Image of a DHA Ektropy user. The Ektropy software supports DHA program and portfolio management by facilitating information sharing between planning, budgeting, execution, and resource planning activities. (Photo: Douglas Stutz, Naval Hospital Bremerton.)

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The Defense Health Agency system, Ektropy, will provide more robust visibility across the Military Health System.

It's a customized information technology system that will help provide leaders with the data they need to make decisions about personnel, programs, cost, and contracts.

It will also provide an overall picture of personnel, positions, contracts, and spending across the DHA for better transparency, accountability, and governance, said Cheryl Anderson, program manager for Ektropy at DHA's Solution Delivery Division.

"It provides an unprecedented, relational view across the current resources available to the Military Health System and the investments will require to expand," she said.

Ektropy's goal is to "transform reactive operations into a proactive data-driven and performance-based culture focused on results and accountability," she said. The system supports the goals outlined in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act sections 702 and 703.

"Ektropy allows the people executing the vision to align their personnel and budgets to support that greater vision," said Pat Flanders, DHA's chief information officer.

Ektropy's name derives from a Greek word referring to the overall increase in a system's organization. The system aims to support and improve program and portfolio management across all agency activities – including those of the military medical hospitals and clinics under DHA purview.

"Its core is providing real-time traceability among planning, execution, and budgeting; facilitating contract execution; human capital management; and objective insights for decision-making," Anderson said. "Ektropy has become the new way of ensuring mission execution and success."

How Does It Work?

Ektropy works by collecting data that informs data-driven decisions.

"It does not merely facilitate information sharing and transparency – it enables it," Anderson said. "By centralizing all our data into a single system and enforcing strict data quality reviews, DHA can assess interdependencies across these factors to make better informed, data-driven decisions."

This means DHA leadership can see what resources are available or what they need to successfully modernize and standardize information technology (IT) resources.

Users – known as "cost warriors" – maintain four major modules relevant to their functional roles: Personnel, Positions, Spend, and Contracts. The users rely on the system to plan how to best apply funding and manpower to fulfill DHA and military hospitals' requirements and support the enterprise strategy for modernizing and standardizing IT resources.

Additionally, the software was designed to be simple, allowing everyone to use it.

"The simplicity of Ektropy drives accurate and timely reporting," Anderson said. "On a regular basis, users can report on changing mission needs at the requirements level and keep their organization up to date on what resources – such as manpower for military, contractors, and civilians, for example – are available to keep up with those changes. The tool then automates dashboards, reporting, and the analytics necessary for a higher-picture view of the health status of the resources available – such as funding or manpower – against planned or anticipated needs, requirements, and mission goals."

Benefits

The software's benefits include:

  • Standardizing processes to maintain uniformity across the organization
  • Eliminating redundancy to improve costs and availability for value-added tasks
  • Providing audit controls to drive increased accountability
  • Centralizing planning and execution data for a comprehensive view and analysis
  • Streamlining reporting and oversight through dashboards and analytics

Timeline

Military medical treatment facility IT organizations already use Ektropy, Anderson said. Now, the aim is to expand its use.

"The goal of the Ektropy team is for the tool to be rolled out across the DHA and to the rest of the military hospital organizations outside of their Information Technology organizations," said Anderson.

"We are working on onboarding the assistant director of management directorate by the spring of 2022 and expanding the tight accountability management beyond Information Management/IT for military hospitals and clinics in upcoming years."

She explained that DHA has created a culture of "cost warriors" who have taken ownership of the culture of cost transparency and proactive, data-driven planning for IM/IT since 2019.

"The chief information officers at each military hospital or clinic and their points of contact have been engaged in leveraging Ektropy to commit themselves to achieving cost efficiencies."

More information is available at the Ektropy website as well as the Wiki page on DHA's intranet.

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