The just released VA coronavirus chatbot is available 24/7 to quickly triage COVID-19 symptoms and answer your questions on testing options, stimulus payments and telehealth, and even how to reschedule VA appointments.
The chatbot also quickly refers Veterans and their families to the right resource if they need help or information. For example, after answering questions on specific health care needs, the chatbot may recommend:
- Using My HealtheVet to send a secure message
- Calling VA311 at 1-844-698-2311
- Calling a local VA Medical Center
Chatbot built in three weeks
Developers built the chatbot in three weeks using the Microsoft Healthcare Bot platform and agile methodology. VA’s Office of Information and Technology, the Veterans Health Administrations Office of Connected Care, and the Veterans Experience Office (VEO) contributed to getting the bot from concept into the hands of Veterans.
“We were able to leverage the Microsoft Healthcare Bot platform that was used to launch the CDC chatbot. We could also quickly leverage authoritative content developed for other channels,” said Denise Kitts. Kitts is VEO’s executive director of multichannel technology.
VA contact centers have seen a significant increase in calls from Veterans since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This surge in calls drove the rapid development of VA’s first chatbot. Chatbot allows Veterans access to important information from virtually anywhere, at any time.
“At VA, our number one priority is delivering excellent customer service to our Veterans,” said Charles Worthington. Worthington is VA’s chief technology officer. “It has been incredible to see VA staff from across the agency come together and deliver creative solutions. This product is a great example of VA’s commitment to using new technologies to improve our services.”
Veterans and their family members can access VA’s coronavirus chatbot through VA.gov.
This story is part of the Secretary’s Priorities series, which was outlined to the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Military Constructions, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies on Feb. 26, 2019, by VA Secretary Wilkie. The Secretary’s Priorities are Customer Service, MISSION Act, Electronic Health Record, Transforming Business Systems and Suicide Prevention. These stories look at the improvements VA is making in how we relate to, interact with and ultimately serve our Veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors.