The IT department of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is seeking to recruit additional artificial intelligence (AI) experts to assist in enhancing the agency's digital healthcare tools. The Office of Information and Technology (VA OIT) is planning a comprehensive revamp of the digital services crucial for veterans accessing VA health care and benefits.
Kurt DelBene, Chief Information Officer (CIO) at the VA, told reporters that his office is making a “modest request” to hire more AI specialists in response to not only President Biden’s recent AI executive order but also to meet the increase of benefits applications under the PACT Act (Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022).
“Especially with the PACT Act, adding new people who can get health care and benefits from us, it really puts a higher premium around being able to do things like automation,” he said during a press conference after the agency’s monthly LinkedIn Live series.
The VA aims to expand its team of practitioners who possess expertise in building and utilizing AI tools. Simultaneously, there is a requirement to provide training for the existing workforce on the effective utilization of these AI tools.
In November 2023, VA also launched the Artificial Intelligence Tech Sprint seeking developers to build AI tools to reduce the burnout of healthcare workers.
“AI solutions can help us reduce the time that clinicians spend on non-clinical work, which will get our teams doing more of what they love most: caring for veterans,” VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. Shereef Elnahal said in a press release.
Last year, the department introduced a new Trustworthy AI Framework, making it the first federal agency to consolidate the entire White House's AI initiatives into a unified and public framework.
The framework will provide a foundation for the VA to design, develop, acquire, and deploy AI systems, fostering trust and confidence among veterans.