In 2019, the Veterans Health Administration continued a multiyear effort to improve the experience for veterans receiving health care services, including adopting customer experience principles as part of VA’s core values. Partnering with the VA’s Veteran’s Experience Office, the VHA continued to build a robust system for collecting and analyzing customer feedback, accelerated the use of techniques like human-centered design to understand veterans’ needs, and invested in staff training to improve the patient experience. The VHA also implemented new legislation that year, making it easier for veterans to access health care from providers outside the VA network.
As the coronavirus spread throughout the country in 2020, the VHA greatly expanded its delivery of telehealth services. In late August, staff members were conducting more than 169,000 weekly health care video visits with veterans, more than a 1,000% increase since the crisis began.1
Over the past four years, veterans’ trust in the VA has increased substantially, rising from 59% in 2016 to 77% in April 2020. Veterans continued to praise the trusted relationships they have with their health care providers—stating they were treated with courtesy and respect when receiving care. After learning that many veterans were often unable to get care when they needed it, the VHA launched ongoing efforts to reduce the amount of time veterans had to wait to obtain an appointment, and has made progress over the past five years.
To further improve the outpatient experience, the VHA also now aims to provide veterans with better information and updates about the process and timing for receiving prescriptions—which vary depending on medication type and whether the VHA or a local pharmacy fills the prescription.
The VHA provides numerous medical and mental health services to veterans at more than 1,200 facilities across the country and served more than 7 million veterans in 2019.
Veterans and their families, caregivers and surviving spouses.
- Assistance with applying for VHA health care.
- Assistance with scheduling and viewing health care appointments.
- Health care and telehealth services ranging from surgery and physical therapy to dental care, mental health and vision care.
- Online systems to communicate securely with VHA health care professionals.
- Assistance with refilling and tracking prescriptions and viewing lab and tests results.
Data at a Glance
increase in trust in the VA among veterans between 2016 and 2020
of veterans surveyed said they got their appointment on a date and time that worked for them in fiscal 2019
of veterans surveyed said they did not know when to expect their prescriptions