The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is looking to standardize a national crowdsourced tool in the department after it reported having success in driving efficiency across VA healthcare centers.

Michael Gao, a software developer at the D.C. Medical Center, developed the open-source software, the Light Electronic Action Framework (LEAF). At today’s NextGov Customer Experience Summit, Gao said that standardizing the 20 different LEAF sites across VA on its national dashboard is the next step for the software after seeing successful initial organic growth.

LEAF allows VA medical personnel to process documents they produce through the platform, which uses automation to streamline data processing and storage. While each VA medical center that has adopted LEAF has seen success, Gao said that addressing differences across the sites is a challenge his team is working on.

“As we’ve grown the focus now is standardization,” Gao said. “Places where this has grown fairly organically [are] at various medical centers, and we realized there is some variability, especially depending on how big the medical center is.”

Gao also added that differences in each center’s procedures are a component to variability across centers.

In standardizing the LEAF sites, Gao said that he hopes it will make the open-source software more uniform for its overall user base on the national dashboard, and his team is looking to use an application program interface (API) to accomplish this.

As Gao’s team works toward standardizing LEAF, the software has already shown individual successes across different centers adopting it. It has helped streamline onboarding processes at places like the North Carolina VA, and it has fueled real-time graphical dashboards of quality-of-care indicators. It currently supports 85 business processes and 39,000 active monthly users.

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