The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is seeking a solution to provide unlimited cloud-based SMS messaging for patients, staff, and family members for the Hershel Woody Williams VA Medical Center in West Virginia.

In a Jan. 21 pre-solicitation notice on, the VA said it needs software-as-a-service (SaaS) support to communicate patient status information. The eventual solution will be a service offered by the medical center’s Surgery Service to operating room patients and their families to receive text messages related to upcoming appointments and status updates to family members while in surgery.

In terms of what data the solution will handle, the VA said that no specific patient information will be passed through the vendor SMS messaging portal other than the veteran’s and/or family’s phone number. Regarding data storage, the contractor will be required to purge all collected data on a weekly basis, though the information will remain available to a VA administrator for reporting purposes.

As part of the new solution, the medical center will require its own log-in account and needs to have the ability to create localized template messages. The eventual vendor has to offer a text message service via a cloud-based portal to any cell phone. The VA said the SaaS solution must include consultation, setup, online training, and 24/7 support.

While the medical center is initially planning to roll out the service to operating room patients only, if the service is successful it may be interested in expanding it to include all clinical services offered by the medical center.

The VA said the goal of the eventual contract, which will be a firm fixed price order, is to purchase a Text SMS messaging service for one year, with the option of four additional years.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.