The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) is shaping how Veterans and their beneficiaries apply for and receive VA benefits—and Aptive is helping them lead that charge.
VBA plays a critical role in connecting Veterans with valuable VA benefits and services such as home loans, education and vocational rehabilitation. Recently, VBA facilitated significant transformation efforts ranging from appeals modernization to claims processing. Aptive is at the forefront of these initiatives, implementing advanced technology and engaging communications to increase awareness and utilization of available VA benefits and services.
Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Shorten Claims Processing
Working with partner IBM, Aptive implemented machine learning models to extract printed and handwritten text from structured and semi-structured disability forms. Applying enterprise-friendly features, such as the ability to configure accuracy thresholds, intelligent quality assurance to measure model accuracy and learning curve slope, and comprehensive analytics dashboards that provide a unified view of human and machine performance, Aptive’s efforts have contributed to VBA successfully reducing the time it takes to process incoming mail from 10 days to just one.
VBA receives between 30,000 and 50,000 mail packets related to benefits and services every day. Under the VBA Veterans Intake, Conversion and Communication Services Mail Automation Services task order, IBM and Aptive are automating the handling, interpretation, classification, insight development and advanced analysis of claims-related documents.
“Using an AI system to process large volumes of documents enables VBA staff to focus on Veteran care and respond directly to their needs,” said Patrick Sullivan, Aptive Vice President of Digital Services. “Currently, we are auto-extracting roughly 1.2 million data points per week from various government forms so Veterans can have their claims handled faster.”
“We are just scratching the surface of what is possible by using AI to help Veterans,” added Mike Nemke, Aptive Director of AI and Machine Learning and former U.S. Army Green Beret. “Unlocking data from its raw form is a necessary step to advancing benefits and services provided to Veterans.”
Increasing Awareness Through Strategic Communications
In July, Aptive was awarded a $5 million contract to support VBA’s Office of Strategic Engagement (OSE). Under the contract, Aptive provides communications and marketing services to increase awareness of VA benefits and services among the 19 million Veterans across the United States.
“OSE plays a vital role in ensuring Veterans are aware of the benefits and services they have earned and deserve,” said Aly Glick, Aptive Vice President of Marketing and Communications. “We are excited to deploy new and innovative communications and outreach strategies to help them disseminate critical and real-time benefit-related information to Veterans and their families and caregivers.”
This contract is an extension of Aptive’s previous work for the office. The team continues to provide human centered design strategic communications, social media outreach and video development with the addition of executive-level support and an increased focus on social media monitoring and analytics.
Going Beyond Surveys to Improve Customer Service Through Social Media
To supplement marketing and communications efforts, Aptive implemented a proprietary tool, Social Pulse, to monitor the voice of citizen stakeholders, Veteran Service Organizations and VBA by collecting, curating and aggregating data from social media platforms using artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Social Pulse is a social media monitoring application that analyzes in-depth social media to provide environmental analysis based on patterns of speech, sentiment and content distribution. The data sets and graph-based information show connectivity, strength of connection, interactions between people and defined audience information for targeted marketing efforts. Aptive then uses that information to shape social media and communication strategies for VBA.
“This tool allows us to really listen to Veterans who are engaging on social media. Through the tool, we can account for social media content that mentions VBA but does not specifically reference its social accounts,” said Nemke. “This platform enables us to identify top stories and influencers with whom VBA stakeholders interact, understand trending topics and identify overall public sentiment towards key VBA topics such as claims and services.”