The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) doesn’t have any current plans to utilize artificial intelligence in its operations, but mostly because it hasn’t yet found a practical use for the technology.

While the VA is currently working to upgrade its electronic health records systems for myriad reasons –  including maintenance, modernization, and supply chain transformation – Dr. Paul Tibbits, Executive Director of the agency’s Office of Technical Integration, said today that AI is not yet ready as a tool for arriving at decisions that matter.

At Broadcom’s Mission to Modernize 2019 event, Dr. Tibbits said that providing datasets through AI is a benefit, but the value of a list of diagnoses doesn’t provide a great deal of help to health IT. AI is not yet at the point of being able to pinpoint for specific care needs or account for a variety of variables associated with health, he said.

However, Dr. Tibbits said that robotic process automation (RPA) technology is “ready now where suitable,” and that the agency is trying to make the most out of the collected technical data.

“We treat all technical data as equal, and the problem is that it’s not,” Dr. Tibbits said.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.