Charles Worthington, chief technology officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and Drew Myklegard, executive director of Project Special Forces at VA, discuss how the department’s new healthcare APIs will help providers access data and get veterans the care they need.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has developed new Application Program Interfaces for their healthcare data. The APIs will allow the tech industry and VA partners to develop software that assists veterans and helps them communicate with medical providers. Charles Worthington, VA chief technology officer, says that all kinds of new tech could come from this development. “An interesting fact about VA benefits is that most benefits are submitted by paper or via fax. Even though you might think that’s kind of an old way of doing it. What we learned by talking to our partners who wind up helping veterans with their benefits often… a lot of those veterans service organizations, they are using software to help manage the cases for their veterans. That software at the end of the day was printing out a form and they’re mailing that to the VA,” Worthington said. “We opened up the same API that is used to allow people to submit benefits on VA.gov to the VSO partners. Now, the software they use can send the claim directly to the VA digitally without having to go through the paper and fax process.” Drew Myklegard, executive director of Project Special Forces at VA, says that they want to let developers have access to the large amounts of data flowing through the organization, but securely. “We’ve got a number of backend systems, and there’s a lot of valuable data in them. Whether it’s our facility data, whether it’s veterans being able to submit for benefits or electronic health records… What we are able to do through APIs is expose that health data or benefits data out in a secure way,” Myklegard said.