Federal News Network: Data gathering for Veterans Affairs investigations is an ‘iterative process’

“Prosecutors, investigators, defense attorneys and inspectors general all need evidence-based data. Fortunately, recent advances in information technology are changing how investigators gather and use data.”

“For David Case, deputy inspector general at the Department of Veterans Affairs, investigations have long been a mix of sifting through documents and machine-generated data, and talking to individuals directly. Over the years, the ratio has shifted to be more data heavy.”

“’Now, there’s still the critical importance of interviews, both of people involved, and those who are responsible for the data at VA,’ Case said on Federal Monthly Insights – Special Bulletin: Digital Investigations. ‘But more and more that data can help us direct our resources intelligently and can help us reach conclusions that we have confidence in.’”

“His office oversees the audit group, which examines issues within the Veterans Health Administration, the Veterans Benefit Administration and other aspects of VA operations. The OIG also oversees health care inspections of VA health facilities, national reviews, criminal investigations and even a special investigations group, which takes a cross-discipline effort.”

“At some point, though, Case must ask himself the question, when does he have enough data and information to draw conclusions? He said it’s a two-step process…”

“One challenge to this process is coordinating personnel. Case said investigators must ensure data scientists and data analysts are communicating with the subject matter experts directly charged with oversight. Those experts include investigators, clinicians and auditors. It is imperative everyone has a complete and clear understanding of the information or data needed, he said.”

“’More commonly, though, investigators or auditors will want some sort of dashboard, where they can see outliers in the data at particular points in time,’ he said. ‘And then we found particularly useful a visual display over time, so you can see trends and the outliers appear more dramatically.’” Read the full article here.

Source: Data gathering for Veterans Affairs investigations is an ‘iterative process’ — By Amelia Brust, April 22, 2021. Federal News Network.

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