Kurt DelBene, chief information officer of the Department of Veterans Affairs, said that digital products developed by the VA’s Office of Information and Technology have significantly improved customer service and workforce efficiency especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a Nextgov guest piece published Friday, DelBene urged the department to continue using innovations such as solution-focused engineering and collaboration to devise practical solutions that address its mission challenges.
At the start of the pandemic, the OIT was able to increase VA’s telehealth capacity from 40,000 a month to as many as 40,000 a day after deploying online-based critical care.
The department was also able to transition 400,000 employees and contractors to home-based work by procuring 200,000 laptops and upgrading other capabilities despite disruption in the global supply chain, DelBene said.
He emphasized that the demand for digital VA services will continue to grow and the agency must prioritize vision-driven execution, operational excellence in IT products, exceptional customer IT experience, and advancement of competitive workforce development.
DelBene, who has been in his CIO post for 10 months, said some of his objectives down the road are to implement technical platforms necessary to modernize the department’s electronic health record and integrated financial and acquisition management systems.
He intends to lead the establishment of products for VA employees that boost productivity and veteran-facing products that are tailored from actual input of the end users.