VA reports on social media, software development

Updates presented on major areas

The Veterans Affairs Department has released its Fiscal 2010 Performance and Accountability Report that outlines progress on programs that include social media outreach, modernizing digital medical records and adopting an agile development model for new software.

The document was published on the VA’s website Nov. 15. It includes management objectives, performance goals and benchmarks and financial statement sections as well as background information on the department.

Concerning social media, the report claimed the VA's Facebook page was the fastest-growing and largest among Cabinet agencies. The Veterans Health Administration and two other internal units have their own Facebook pages, as do more than a dozen VA medical centers.


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The VA also has a presence on Twitter, with headquarters, three internal units, a dozen or so medical centers, and Assistant Secretary Tammy Duckworth each sponsoring a Twitter feed.

The report also said the department is launching “an innovative and agile approach” to software development.

Also, for the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture, two prototypes will be developed based on the AViVA, or “A Virtual Implementation of VistA,” environment, with a browser-based user interface and a multitiered architecture, the report states.

These prototypes “will serve as the foundation for VA’s electronic health record modernization,” according to the report.

In the performance overview section, the VA said it met nine performance objectives and failed to meet 12 others. For example, the department met goals for 96 percent accuracy in its pension maintenance claims but did not meet the 90 percent accuracy rate goal for compensation entitlement claims.

The document also said the VA met its goal of providing health care appointments to patients within 30 days of the requested time, but it did not meet its goal of processing education claims within 24 days.


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Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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