One year after the relaunch of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) official website, VA.gov, the agency praised streamlined citizen services, integration of veterans’ health data with an iOS app, and its virtual veteran services capabilities at the Veterans Digital Transformation Breakfast on Nov. 7.
VA Deputy Secretary James Byrne insisted that the agency’s modernization decisions put the veterans’ experience first. “We can’t ever take our eye off the ball that every day we have someone living and dying and recovering,” he said. “Customer service is and will remain our number one priority.”
In the first year of VA.gov’s relaunch, the VA boasts increased website traffic:
- 9 million unique users.
- 6 million unique login successes.
- 684,000 profile updates, up 479 percent over prior year period.
- 598,000 education form submissions, up 2 percent over the same period last year.
- 291,000 disability compensation submissions, up 27 percent over prior year period.
- 8,000 pension submissions, up 59 percent over same period pre-launch year.
- 6,500 burial submissions, up 91 percent over same period last year.
VA officials also announced that since yesterday’s launch of health record integration with the iPhone health app, 3,000 veterans have registered for the service.
Part of the VA’s digital success, said Acting Chief Technology Officer Charles Worthington, comes from repurposing the technology that they’ve already built. After success with a telehealth program that allows veterans to access healthcare providers digitally, the VA started using the same technology to connect veterans with court hearings remotely. This video conferencing technology is especially useful for veterans with mobility issues or ones that live far from the brick and mortar destinations.
Chief Information Officer (CIO) Jim Gfrerer added that by 2024, the VA aims to have over half of its operations and systems in the cloud environment. “It’s not about cost savings, it’s about business efficiency and effectiveness,” he noted.