By: Emily Tavoulareas and Mary Ann Brody
Meet David, a 47 year old Veteran of the Navy. He is afar with three kids, one in his custody. Over the aftermost few years he has been in and out of homelessness, authoritative minimum allowance aloof alfresco of Philadelphia. He hasn’t apparent a doctor in 8 years. If you ask him if he has activated for bloom affliction he will acquaint you “yea, dozens of times.” The acknowledgment is “dozens of times” because the accepted appliance action is confusing, frustrating, and generally inefficient. Over the accomplished few months, our aggregation has been alive to accomplish applying for bloom affliction at the VA easier.
Applications for bloom affliction are candy and accommodation determinations are fabricated by the Bloom Accommodation Centermost (HEC), through the “Enrollment System.”
*all stats are from a contempo analysis by the Veteran’s Bloom Administration
There is an online appliance (the Veterans Online Application, additionally accepted as VOA), but beneath than 10% of applicants are appliance it. Why? The acknowledgment is adequately straightforward: the online appliance does not attainable for best users. It is a fillable PDF. The abandoned browser that defaults to Adobe is Internet Explorer. Even if you are appliance Internet Explorer, you charge be appliance Adobe 8 or 9 for the appliance to open. If not, you’ll see this:
More than 70% of U.S. Government cartage comes from Chrome, Safari, or Firefox. None of these browsers absence to Adobe and that agency over 70% of visitors accept agitation accessing the bloom affliction application. This isn’t the accountability of IE or Adobe — the ecosystem of the internet changes rapidly, so while IE and Adobe are able to adapt, the articles we body in government generally are not.
As anon as this botheration became clear, we endeavored to body a agenda application. The ambition was simple: accredit Veterans to administer for bloom affliction online as anon as possible.
Here’s how we did it:
Prioritize users, and appoint them aboriginal and often. To body article attainable and advantageous as bound as attainable aural absolute authoritative constraints, we knew we had to get absolute ascribe from Veterans aboriginal and often. We congenital the appliance iteratively, acceptance our assignment with Veterans through account analysis in the field.
Below are two videos of our aboriginal account work. They affection a 35-year-old Veteran who has been in and out of homelessness with his babe over the accomplished brace of years. We met him on a sidewalk alfresco of his job. The videos appearance him aboriginal aggravating to administer for bloom affliction as it was in Spring 2016. The additional video shows him aggravating to administer for bloom affliction appliance an aboriginal ancestor of the new appliance on Vets.gov.
Our time with users, and what we apprentice from them, forms the foundation on which we body our products, services, and experiences.
Work carefully with VA stakeholders, at all levels. Our colleagues at the HEC accept committed their lives to allowance Veterans get bloom care, and are accomplishing the best they can with the assets they have. We formed carefully with them to accept the accepted process, system, challenges, and opportunities. We additionally partnered with them to analysis out the application. Together, we ensured that the acquaintance from end-to-end would be seamless, and that abstracts was abounding appropriately from one point to the next.
We do not do this assignment alone. In our following to advance articles and services, there are committed civilian agents who apperceive the processes, systems, regulations, bigger than we do — and we cannot advance articles and casework for Veterans after them.
This new agenda appliance is artlessly a functional, cleaner adaptation of the absolute application — it collects the aforementioned information. Since the absolute agenda appliance doesn’t attainable for a majority of the public, our antecedence was to get the appliance up and alive as bound as we could. While we did a lot of apparent accent and user acquaintance (UX) work, the acquaintance can still be better. In the aing few months we will:
Ultimately, this appliance is about convalescent admission to the bloom affliction Veterans accept earned. We accept the best way to accomplish this is by agreement our users — Veterans — at the centermost of our assignment and developing articles in an active address to acclimatize to their needs. Benefits and casework should do added than exist. They should be accessible, useful, and usable.
We attending advanced to rolling out added articles like this on vets.gov in the months ahead.
To apprentice added about the new agenda bloom affliction application, visit : https://www.vets.gov/healthcare/apply/
Emily Tavoulareas and Mary Ann Brody are associates of the U.S. Agenda Service at Veterans Affairs.
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