Federal News Network: Telework capacity quadruples during pandemic, VA says

“To juggle multiple missions as a provider for veterans and the nation’s backup health system during a pandemic, the Department of Veterans Affairs has come to rely on tools both old and new.”

“Telework and telehealth aren’t new phenomena at VA, but the challenges of the pandemic forced VA to quadruple its remote work capacity in the last two months.”

“VA networks had the capacity to support 120,000 remote users in February before the pandemic to 240,000 to date, said Charles Worthington, chief technology officer for the department.”

“The department’s systems now have the capacity to support some 500,000 remote users if necessary, he said…”

“VA medical professionals are also conducting significantly more telehealth appointments using its video platforms. Before the pandemic, VA facilitated some 2,800 video connections for about 250,000 minutes a day.”

“Today, the department is conducting 22,000 video appointments for a total of 2 million minutes daily. Worthington said VA had to quickly improve and increase its network bandwidth to accommodate the massive increase in telehealth demand…”

“A coronavirus chat-bot, which VA launched in about three weeks, is a new addition to the department’s toolkit.”

“The chat bot helps veterans navigate common questions about VA’s coronavirus response, freeing up the phone lines for veterans who need to reach a medical professional for immediate help, Worthington said. Using plain language, the bot describes, for example, what kind of screening policies veterans might expect should they need to visit a VA facility…” Read the full article here.

Source: Telework capacity quadruples during pandemic, VA says – By Nicole Ogrysko, May 22, 2020. Federal News Network.

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