The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is poised to issue an agency data strategy that will help advance the mission of caring for veterans while still protecting personally identifiable information (PII) and other health data, said Kshemendra Paul, VA’s CDO, at a FedInsider event Jan. 12.

“The vision we’re driving towards is using data, managing data … to support and strengthen VA’s journey as a learning enterprise,” Paul said. The strategy, he continued, will feature “both continuous improvement through operational decision support at every echelon and evidence based policymaking to support us to continually improve how we serve veterans, their families, caregivers, and their survivors.”

A key aspect of VA’s overall data strategy, Paul says, is its close partnership with efforts underway at the Department of Defense (DoD). Both are “working on a joint vision and strategy for data and analytics,” he said.

Paul also discussed how VA’s “superpower” was the data it owns about veterans and how that can help map out a veteran’s journey with such a large Federal agency, including information about health records and PII. Another key in the data strategy effort, Paul said, involves VA taking advantage of modern technology which is “ubiquitously cloud-based.”

“We have a clearly identified, singular customer –  a veteran – as a population,” with living veterans numbering about 19.5 million, Paul said. “So, that gives us a great ability to kind of focus on integrating our data holdings in ways that are maximally impactful on our ability to serve veterans, provide access quality outcomes impact.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.