VA Inks $13 Million Contract with Google Cloud to Drive the Making of Apps for Vets


A new announcement marks the “continued evolution” of an ongoing program and aims to promote customer experience.

Executing on its digital modernization strategy, the Veterans Affairs Department awarded Google Cloud a $13 million, multi-year contract to support the development of fresh tools and apps for the nation’s former servicemembers via an application programming interface or API management platform.

APIs are essentially software intermediaries, or what enables different software to communicate in one common interface or environment. In 2018, the VA’s Office of Information and Technology launched the Lighthouse API, a one-stop online location where third-party developers like Apple and others provide tailored health care apps for veterans to voluntarily download and use to stay on top of their appointments, medications, treatment plans and more.

Through its new collaboration with the technology giant, VA will deploy Google Cloud’s FedRAMP-authorized platform Apigee.

“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,” VA Lighthouse Director Dave Mazik said in an announcement on Wednesday. 

He also noted that Apigee—an offering that complies with the department’s standards for healthcare data exchanges—will help continue scaling Lighthouse and ultimately provide users with more options for helpful VA-aligned services.

Putting it another way, this move marks one part of the continued evolution VA’s API program, according to Google Cloud’s release.

In it, officials additionally offered examples of Apigee’s potential uses. They said developers may access the VA’s Benefits API through it to produce apps for veterans to “submit and track electronic benefits claims and add supplemental documentation,” or access VA’s Health APIs to create new medical records management tools.

“Google Cloud has been working with the VA for three years,” a spokesperson told Nextgov in an email. 

Past engagements include efforts via the Defense Innovation Unit to implement an AI-enabled digital pathology solution to help predict cancer diagnoses in VA hospitals and genome research for the Million Veteran Program, in partnership with Stanford University.

Editor’s note: This article was updated with a comment from Google.