VA CIO Believes COVID-19 Pandemic Has Pushed Agency ‘About 5 Years’ into the Future

“Amid the widespread misery and dislocation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the few bright spots has been on the Federal technology front, where the imperative to adopt a range of remote processes including widespread telework has helped push Federal agency operations farther into the future.

That was the message from Federal CIOs today at General Dynamics Information Technology’s Emerge 2021 conference focused on digital modernization.  Those pandemic-driven changes, the CIOs said, appear to be sticking…”

“At the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), that shift has taken the form of a foundational shift in the organization’s use of telehealth services. Last month, VA Secretary Denis McDonough said the agency averaged 45,000 telehealth visits a day this February, up from 2,500 a day last March before the pandemic.

‘Things like telework, telehealth, tele-counseling, tele-hearings were always on our radar. It was something we wanted to do, and we had established some pretty good nascent telehealth capabilities, but the COVID 19 pandemic really forced us into the future, probably by about five years,’ VA CIO Dominic Cussatt said during a panel discussion at today’s GDIT event. ‘It forced our hand to really get out there and really exercise our telehealth capabilities.’…”

“Cussatt said VA is in the process of utilizing AI, RPA, and machine learning technology to help automate some of the technical support ticketing processes and cut down on the amount of time that process takes.

Both Cussatt and [Mia Jordan, CIO of the FSA Enterprise Technology Directorate] offered advice for agencies working on modernization efforts, including building upon scalable processes and having those difficult discussions with leaders about investing in modernization.

‘Don’t stop with building out your scalable platforms,’ Cussatt said. ‘Expand, build on those platforms, see what you can do within them.’…” Read the full article here.

Source: Feds: COVID-19 Pandemic Pushed Agencies ‘Years’ into the Future – By Lamar Johnson, April 6, 2021. MeriTalk.

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