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Department of Veterans Affairs

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Transforming the Veteran’s experience

Department of Veterans Affairs

Using artificial intelligence and natural language processing to automate the benefits process with the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs

About VA

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides near-comprehensive healthcare services to eligible military veterans at VA medical centers and outpatient clinics located throughout the country; several non-healthcare benefits including disability compensation, vocational rehabilitation, education assistance, home loans, and life insurance; and provides burial and memorial benefits to eligible veterans and family members at 135 national cemeteries.

The challenge

How might we deliver better services to our nation's veterans?

Project description

The CTO office/OIT at the Department of Veterans Affairs works to help the VA adopt modern digital service delivery best practices, become more data-driven, improve processes and improve the experience that veterans have when interacting with the VA online. As part of this effort, the Office of the CTO/OIT is seeking four Presidential Innovation Fellows to work on the following challenges:

Health Record Interoperability: VA has the nation’s largest integrated healthcare system, with 9 million patients and VA has long been a world-leader in the electronic medical record space. As we transition our EHR to a new platform and expand the use of outside providers to treat our patients, the need for health record interoperability between various systems is increasing. Due to our size and public interest mission, VA has a unique opportunity to drive industry progress on healthcare record interoperability. How can we ensure the clinicians (whether at the VA or in the community) who treat our patients have access to all the information they need to provide excellent care? How can we empower patients to use their own health data in new ways? How can we drive industry progress on health record interoperability.

Virtual Healthcare Delivery: The increasing ubiquity of smartphones, mobile broadband and the Internet create new opportunities to deliver healthcare services. VA has long been a pioneer in virtual health services, and is seeking to further expand our capabilities. How can the use of new tools and modalities improve the delivery of VA healthcare?

Decision Automation: VA is experimenting with new models to improve the efficiency of our operations by automating tasks that a computer can easily handle, freeing up staff to focus on decisions requiring human judgment. How can VA best build decision engines / automation tools into its workflows from a technical / architectural perspective? How can VA use new approaches to deliver benefits and services to our customers more quickly?

Product Management Transition: VA’s OIT is embarking on an ambitious transformation that will shift our focus from delivering “projects” to a focus on continuously improving VA’s delivery of core services. In part, we will achieve this shift by implementing Product Management practices across our portfolio. How can OIT transition from a project-centric culture to one focused on delivering excellent product outcomes for our users?

For these projects, the VA is looking for the following skill sets: data science, design, product management, software development and deep expertise in the healthcare industry, especially in the areas of health record interoperability and clinical software workflows.