How the VA is Using Customer Feedback to Support Veteran’s Mental Health

Acting on feedback to support Veterans in crisis


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45,390 American adults died from suicide in 2017, including 6,139 U.S. Veterans. Our nation is understandably grieving with each suicide, prompting our collective and tireless pursuit of evidence-based clinical interventions and expansion of community prevention strategies to reach each Veteran.

As part of recent efforts to support Veterans in crisis, VA is using artificial intelligence (AI) systems capabilities leveraged by customer feedback industry best practices in partnership with Booz Allen Hamilton, Deloitte, Medallia, and Halfaker to detect and respond to Veterans in crisis.

Starting in fall 2017, VA began digitally collecting customer feedback from Veterans receiving VA services and VA digital properties in the Veterans Signals (VSignals) program. Since then, Veterans have responded with more than 4.2 million surveys, including more than 1.6 million free-text comments. This feedback is accessible to VA employees across the country for action, often prompting customer service efforts and influencing VA decision making.

Veteran feedback is also used to measure trust in VA; as of November 5, 2019, Veterans measured Veterans Health Administration Outpatient Care trust at 87.8%. A recent Partnership for Public Service study credited VA for its mature customer experience data program an essential indicator to VA’s customer experience improvements.

How it works for Veterans in crisis

The artificial intelligence systems capabilities developed by the Veterans Experience Office (VEO) searches through Veteran survey responses in real-time and highlights Veterans that may be in crisis. Crisis alerts are routed to the VA National Call Center for Homeless Veterans (NCCHV), Veteran Crisis Line (VCL), or other various VA offices that can offer assistance. This system has already engaged and led to early intervention for more than 1,400 Veterans in need to provide them assistance within minutes of the alert.

VA is listening to Veterans, families, caregivers, and survivors – and taking action. VA is committed to providing assistance to Veterans who may be in need of support. It’s our hope that Veterans will continue to seek assistance using all the resources made available to them, both in their local communities and nationally through the VA. As this program continues to grow, VA is optimistic that technology like this will elevate efforts to support and assist the Veterans in crisis across the country.

Author

Tim Hudak

  joined the VA in December 2013 and is on the Veterans Experience Office team. Tim, a Chicago-land native enlisted in the Marine Corps straight out of high school. As an intelligence analyst he deployed to Al Anbar province, Iraq with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363 in 2006 and 2008. After the Marine Corps, Tim used the GI Bill to earn a degree in Intelligence Studies from Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., and co-founded the university’s first student Veteran organization. Tim is active in many Veteran organizations.

Comments

  1. Glen Cooper    

    Tim Hudat, where are you? Are you reading the responses to your topic? I am. Your claims of being responsive to feedback are not supported. The VA talks but doesn’t listen. Like so many others in my situation we are accutely aware of this fact. I am suffering as are thousands of Veterans trying to get what you claim we have. Gary Hicks did show up briefly when I called out but I believe many VA Stsffers are ignored and possibly reprimanded for actually responding to a Veteran. The “Powers that be” do not want any disagreement with their opioid plan. Doesn’ matter if a few Veterans (22 a day) kill themselves having pleaded with the VA. Please recognise the many competent and experienced Doctors that don’t agree with forced tapering and alternatives. The VA ignores and discredits them too. Right or wrong people are suffering and dying that don’t have to. Please read and follow up on your own topic and get back to us. Or aren’t you allowed?

  2. Michael Douglas Colyott    

    I find the nurses and most doctors do their jobs well. Administrative people, for the most part, appear to be as the stereotyped typical government worker. Due to the incompetence and self-serving attitude of one employee, I was nearly suicidal. I saught help from a patient advocate only to find out he had more problems than me and refused to work with me.
    My point is we are dealing with people and there is something about a government position that turns off the desire to do well. It ‘appears’ that they feel as if they can’t be fired so ‘I don’t care’ is their attitude. I have witnessed and experienced employees be vengeful, mean and even ask for bribes.

    TRAIN THEM

    1. Glen Cooper    

      Michael Douglas Colyott has it right about VA employees. The Advocates work for the VA rather than support Veterans. I don’t think it is a “training” problem. There way to many “desk jobs”. I have found excellent people in Release of Information, you know, the desk jobs that actually perform a function. I really believe that “Primary Care Doctors” should do simple procedures rather than schedule specialty clinics. Good grief, are they not trained to remove an ingrown toenail? Since I seem to be alone here and who knows maybe my experiences will result in feedback. I drove 6 hours one time to a Primary Care Clinic with a painful ingrown toenail. I was told, “I will give you an antibiotic and send you to podiatry”. (That took a couple of months). There, I was told, “I will remove your toenails kill the root”. I said Okay. Then he says “I will do one today and schedule you to come back for the other one”. I said “do them both” and he would not. So I went to a private clinic and had them removed. (Without killing them). The PA asked me if I wanted the tools because they do not use autoclaves they get then in sterilized plastic kits. Good thing I took them because the nails kept coming back. Does anyone know how much it hurts to dig in your own nailbef without zylovaine? I now have a proud agitated collection of ugly clippings. I dated them and took bloody pictures for about a year. Anyone who would like to see them is welcome. A VA pain doctor would not give me pain medicine and believe it bit not my toenail collection seemed to facinate him. “Do you mind if I take pictures with my phone!!!” I said no problem if you don’t accuse me of being nuts. So… eventually I was sitting in my tent (homeless again) gouging out my toes. (When I wasn’t looking I lost one specimen when my dog ate it! I started to worry about getting infection and the nails were so deep. (I started using needle nose pliers). I went to a private podiatrist and he removed them he only killed s portion of the nail root. He did give me codeine. (And yes the VA accused me of illegal drug use with the following drug screen). Since I am telling vast experience with the VA I will make a separate post with more wonderful “feedback”.

  3. Carol Talbert    

    The worst nightmare of my life happened Nov 30 my oldest son a former Marine and his brother got into the only physical fight in their entire life. My oldest son snapped and shot and killed his youngest brother and wife. When my son came home he got the run around from the VA over benefits in order to seek treatment for PTSD DEPRESSION AND SOCIAL ANXIETY. He never tried again after that. He is now up for capital murder in which in AR. has the death penalty and there’s nothing I can do but to pray for a miracle. I don’t have the money to hire a attorney and I’m devastated beyond belief. On that day in a matter of seconds I lost all three of my children. This is what happens when our Vets are left uncared for ! I’m still in shock and the psychological emotions that are going through me are unimaginable ! One moment I’m grieving the loss of my youngest son and my beautiful daughter-In law, and the next I’m having anxiety attacks. The waves of emotions the thoughts of never being able to talk with my youngest son and wife nor to ever have a grandchild from either one of my boys! I ask that the ones that reads this will keep my family in there prayers.

  4. joe fugo    

    va employees are overpaid lazy liars that dont know how to speak the truth !! it is a corrupt system that needs to be shut down
    this great country should have another senseless war send all va employees and politians that was never in a war situation ! maybe thats one way to get rim of the scum !!

  5. Arnold Cabral    

    Veterans who read this and Spread my belief email your Senators or Representative contract Veteran Affairs Committee passed a Veterans who is 100 percent service connected needs a Dentist know how to G4 implants for free because they don’t have one Dentist know how to G4 implants in Veteran Medical Centers or have a contract with Veteran Administration and if a Disabled Veterans who is 100 percent service connected doesn’t get the G4 implants it cause really bad Gums Disease also it cause really bad Health Problems plus it would cause possibly Cancer.

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