Social media sharing through APIs

VA releases Lighthouse 'API-first' RFI

The Department of Veterans Affairs has officially launched its "API-first" strategy, aiming to use application programming interfaces to deliver consistent, high-quality digital experiences to internal users, third parties and veterans that will match what those individuals get from private-sector organizations. 

In a request for information for the Lighthouse API management platform, the VA is asking for help from contractors to design, develop and maintain a single set of APIs for the VA enterprise cloud, using agile development when working with internal and external teams.

Every VA digital service will be powered by APIs -- those around data exchanges, benefits and claims and veteran interactions -- and  the information exposed to approved third parties will help them build products and applications on top of VA services and data.

The department also plans to enhance its systems' interoperability with the health sector's Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources standard, which enables data exchanges between both internal and external systems. API- and FHIR-based solutions will give authorized individuals better access to the VA's data, improving the veteran experience and reducing agency costs.

The APIs will also make it easier and more secure for veterans to interact directly with VA regarding changes in service history, mailing address and disability ratings by allowing veterans and veteran-authorized third parties to access the data.

The Lighthouse platform was first announced in March by VA's then-Secretary David Shulkin as part of a larger vision for modernization that includes adopting more commercial off-the-shelf products and delivering a "digital experience in line with what Veterans are getting from the private sector."

Responses are due on Aug. 3.  Read the full RFI here.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for GCN, covering cloud, cybersecurity and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Before joining GCN, Friedman was a reporter for Gambling Compliance, where she covered state issues related to casinos, lotteries and fantasy sports. She has also written for Communications Daily and Washington Internet Daily on state telecom and cloud computing. Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at sfriedman@gcn.com or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

Click here for previous articles by Friedman.


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