We designed, developed, and implemented a single data repository for veteran identification data, pulling together a number of data sources to consolidate, clean up, and merge information such as personal data, activation and deployment history, educational benefits, and spousal data. This single repository, named VADIR, enabled the VA to administer benefits more efficiently. Rather than relying on a number of separate, conflicting, and duplicative sources, the VA now owns a one-stop, authoritative source for veteran’s data.
Our challenges stemmed from:
- The sheer size and volume of the data
- The consolidation of duplicate data sources that often contained conflicting information
We followed a systematic approach to build this repository: analysis, design, code development, testing (both data validation and performance testing), and implementation. For every data feed that the VA wanted consolidated, we met with VA and DoD stakeholders to learn what they wanted captured, what the data values meant, what sources they considered authoritative, and how to rectify differences between the sources in conflict situations.
Once we understood VA needs, we created design documents to: 1) verify that we indeed understood the VA requirements; 2) verify that we understood the nature of the data being extracted, and; 3) propose how we would efficiently and correctly pull this data from its original source. We created a set of Oracle-based PL/SQL programs to retrieve, validate, clean up, and transfer the data elements in question. We then tested and re-tested these programs, making sure that the data values being pulled and transferred were indeed correct. We also tested for performance, making sure these programs ran quickly, and if they encountered any abnormalities, that these abnormalities were documented and handled.
Once both Oak Grove and the VA approved the program and test results, we worked together to schedule a go-live date for the interface, implementing and executing the interface on said date
Department of Veterans Affairs
Department of Defense
NATURE OF WORK:
Oak Grove streamlined and simplified data flow procedures for over 15 of the 45+ data feeds between the VA and DoD. Project highlights include:
Developing an interface to alert 150,000 Servicemembers every quarter about their Montgomery GI Bill eligibility information.
Developing an interface for the Office of Policy and Planning to support annual reporting of military service data related to Active Duty Servicemembers (separated and activated) as well as current and past Reservist and National Guard members. The interface produced over 17 million records of data.
Replacing an existing DoD-VA data feed used to share Servicemember history information with the VHA Environmental Epidemiology Service in order to speed up data transfer and improve accuracy. The new interface produced and transferred over 3.4 million records of Servicemember data in six hours, a process which used to take days.
Creating a new data exchange between the DoD and VA to support the VA’s requirement for providing educational benefits under the National Call-to-Service Program.
Developing an ad hoc report for the VA Medical Center to identify a pool of veterans qualified to take part in a clinical trial related to the unexplained medical symptoms prevalent in Gulf War veterans.
Developing an ad hoc report to conduct a Foreclosure Impact Survey for the Loan Guaranty department at VA. The report, requested by Congress, assessed the ability of veterans to obtain and/or maintain housing in light of increased foreclosure rates and poor economic conditions.
Developing a reporting program to help the VA conduct their annual survey. The program, producing three annual extracts and one monthly extract, produced records for over 6.5 million people.