Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Information Technology (OIT) launched efforts to build and operate a cohesive set of modern APIs which will be used to enhance VA digital services so they are easier to use, more reliable, and provide faster information to Veterans and Veteran Service Offices (VSOs). Veterans should be able to share their data with whom they want, when they want.
Our team’s agile development methodology delivers a modern, human-centric API development experience. Oddball provides VA Lighthouse program management, product management, software engineering, user experience research and design, and outreach support to internal (VA) customers, third-party vendors and external consumers.
We implemented human-centered design (HCD) by continuing to iterate on the developer portal encompassing discussions with users and learning their pain points and needs, shipping updates to production daily, and adding new APIs. We also delivered self-service functionality, enabling users to sign up for any of the APIs through new easy-to-use application and newsletter subscription forms. This self-service access lowers the barrier to entry and lets API consumers begin using VA APIs right away. Our Outreach Team provides users with White Glove customer service throughout the entire process to ensure success and gather feedback.
In the last year VA launched a human-centric developer portal, and APIs for benefits, VA facilities, Veteran Verification, and health. More than 300 developers have signed up and 14 are using production data. We have designed an outreach strategy to increase VA API utilization and create innovative digital services for our Veterans. VA Lighthouse was a recipient of the 2019 FedHealthIT Innovation award for advancements in health technology.
The Benefits Intake API is a great example of how we’ve helped streamline processes for Veterans. In the past, 65% of disability and pension claims were submitted via paper or fax. Many Veterans visit a local Veteran Service Office (VSO), where claims are submitted on their behalf. Through the Benefits Intake API, VSOs can now submit claims electronically to VBA via the push of a button in the VSOs claims management system. That results in less time spent printing, scanning, faxing, or mailing forms to VA. It also results in a shorter turnaround time from receipt to Centralized Mail Portal upload for VA Regional Office Processing. This API has only been available for a few months and is already being utilized to submit over 10,000 benefit requests per month.