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Google Cloud announced this week that it was partnering with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to help developers create new tools aimed at connecting veterans with services and data.  
The partnership will enable the VA to scale its Lighthouse API program, which provides access to VA APIs in order to develop apps and other tools, said the company.  
“This partnership is a logical next step to better connect Veterans with VA services, innovate with trusted third parties and continue to offer a high-quality, digital-first customer experience to which they’re accustomed to in other areas of their lives,” said VA Lighthouse Director Dave Mazik in a statement.  
WHY IT MATTERS  
The $13 million, multi-year contract represents continued efforts from the agency to modernize access to its services.   
Under the agreement, Google Cloud will deploy its API management program, Apigee, to help developers and partners build new software aimed at veterans.  
For instance, as the organizations explain, creators can use VA’s Benefits API to spin up apps helping veterans submit and track electronic benefits claims. They also point out that developers can access the VA’s Health APIs to build tools that give veterans access to medical records – particularly notable given the agency’s beleaguered rollout of its new electronic health record system.  
The Apigee deployment is built on a platform authorized by the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, which provides a standardized approach to security authorizations for cloud service offerings.   ​​
“We’re honored to support the VA and our nation’s veterans,” said Mike Daniels, VP of Global Public Sector, Google Cloud, in a statement.  
THE LARGER TREND  
As the largest healthcare provider in the United States, the VA has been at the forefront of IT innovation in some ways – including with regard to telemedicine, which it relied on even before the COVID-19 pandemic spiked utilization throughout the country.
On the other hand, its attempts to modernize its EHR have faced numerous setbacks, although 11 more deployments are now on the calendar for this year.  
ON THE RECORD   
“By making it easier for developers and partners to build new applications through Apigee, the VA is spurring innovations that will ultimately enable veterans and their families to more easily access important benefits and services,” said Google Cloud’s Daniels.
Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Twitter: @kjercich
Email: [email protected]
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.
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