Story courtesy Office of Information and Technology.
Veterans, their families and caregivers can now receive digital notifications through VANotify, a new paperless platform.
While Veterans already receive appointment notifications through VEText, VA sends most notifications via postal mail. With VANotify, Veterans can now receive even more VA notifications by email and text.
Veterans do not have to sign up for VANotify. VA automatically is using it on the back-end to streamline communications to Veterans who receive services from VA, as long as the Veteran’s contact information with VA is up to date.
Mail delivery is a slow and expensive process. It can lead to Veterans amassing piles of letters related to their health care, benefits, and other services. Challenges can also arise when Veterans change addresses or do not have easy access to a mailbox. With the launch of VANotify, which was developed using open source software, VA further expands the Department’s capability to effortlessly send Veterans emails and texts to support the following functions:
- Confirming Veterans’ receipt of benefits applications
- Notifying Veterans of changes to their VA accounts
- Helping Veterans track their VA Pharmacy deliveries
Most recently, VA used the feature to notify Veterans about COVID-19 vaccinations. Over 200,000 Veterans received communications around vaccination planning through VANotify.
There are plans to expand the use of VANotify to include:
- Sending monthly SMS notifications about benefit payments
- Sending information about debt acquisition
- Expanding VANotify features to enable push notifications (automated messages sent by VA applications to a user)
VA’s investments in digital applications such as the COVID-19 Chatbot, “I am Here” texting solution, the Digital Screener tool, and now VANotify, ensure Veterans have more options and flexibility in accessing the benefits and services they have earned.
Charles Worthington, VA’s chief technology officer, highlighted the technologists, analysts, and partners across VA and private industry who collaborated to deliver this innovative IT solution.
“At VA, our number one priority is delivering excellent customer service to our Veterans,” Worthington said. “It has been incredible to see so many VA staff from across the agency come together and quickly deliver creative solutions to new problems. VANotify is a great example of VA’s commitment to using new technologies to improve our services.”