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Vha baseline analysis

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Delivered: Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Prepared By: Andrew B. Einhorn, M.S.
Synoptos Inc
T 703-243-3461
http://synoptos.com
Veterans Health Administration
Media & Policy Analysis
This report assesses the communications efforts of the Veterans Health
Administration and analyzes veterans’ reactions to VHA services over a
three month period. The study included a review of a dozen key
performance indicators. The analysis revealed that Veterans are
predominately unhappy about VHA services, the VHA lags among large
federal agencies in its Twitter use, and VHA employees are contributing
substantially to the negative publicity the VHA receives on social media.
Summary of Findings
I. VHA Media Analysis
Synoptos Inc analyzed the public profile of the Veterans Health Administration over
the period beginning April 2, 2011 to June 2, 2011. Part 1 of the analysis
examines trends in news mentions and Twitter mentions along with growth on
social media platforms for the VHA.
Synoptos Inc.
 3
Part 1.
Media
Analysis
20%
80%
Male Female
Figure 2: Twitter Mentions by Gender
Facebook Fans 35,4000 +12.4%
Twitter Followers 6,769 +17.0%
Retweets 858 +9.4%
People Reached 246,000 +6.7%
Tw Mentions 2297 +1.0%
Tweet Sents 494 -2.5%
Tweet/Retweet 1.73 +15.4%
Table 1: Social Media Engagement
II. Benchmark Analysis
For this analysis, we compared the media mentions of the Veterans Health
Administration to several hundred large federal agencies to determine which
agency has the greatest public footprint and to identify areas needing
improvement. Results are displayed as percentiles across the distribution of
agencies analyzed for each metric.
Table 2. Percentile Rank Among Large Agencies by Metric
This Month Last Month Three Months
Facebook Fans
Twitter Followers
News Mentions
Twitter Mentions
Tweets Sent
Retweets
Website Rank
75th 80th 80th
30th 33rd 30th
37th 60th 50th
43rd 40th 44th
70th 40th 40th
50th 70th 59th
40th 40th 40th
IIa. Web Analysis
To enhance understanding of how Veterans look for information, we analyzed
searches performed on search engines to locate popular search terms used.
Veterans Benefits
Veterans Association
Veterans Jobs
Jobs for Veterans
Veterans Services
Veterans Assistance
Veterans Administration
Veterans Medical Benefits
Help for Veterans
Veteran Employment
GI Bill
Veterans Homes
Veterans Services
0 150,000 300,000 450,000 600,000
Figure 3. Average Monthly Searches
Synoptos Inc.
 4
Part 1.
Media
Analysis
III. Program Assessment
For this analysis, Synoptos Inc. analyzed the content of social media
comments placed on VHA social media properties to identify trends in the
beliefs about the VHA, problems facing the VHA and its facilities, and how
people feel about VHA services. A sample of 1,000 comments were analyzed.
Figure 2: Social Media Comments by Tone
Negative
Positive
Neutral
15%
25%
60%
Synoptos Inc.
 5
Part 2.
Program
Assessment
‣Comments were found to be overwhelmingly negative.
‣Only 25% of comments were positive, with most positive comments
having to do with support of veterans themselves and not of VHA
programs.
General Criticism
Praise
Specific Complaint
Suggestion
Other
17%
7%
33%
12%
31%
Customer Service
Legal
Bureaucracy
Claims
Employment Practices
Medical Care
Quality of Care
Veterans
Volunteering
Other
2%1%5%
5%
2%
5%
7%
7%
6%
60%
Synoptos Inc.
 6
Part 2.
Program
Assessment
Figure 5: Social Media Comments by Type
‣The vast majority of comments dealt with criticisms of the VHA in
general or specific complaints about services or red tape.
‣Only 12% of comments gave praise, though few were directed at the
VHA. Most praise was about Veterans protecting the nation.
Figure 6: Complaints About the VA by Topic
‣Topics varied, but 60% of the comments highlighted customer service at
VA hospitals and clinics with most comments being negative.
‣Only 5% of comments addressed quality of care received. The vast
majority targeted the VHA advocate program and issues with bureaucracy
or long paperwork processing times.
Non-VA Employee
VA Employee
Unknown 6%
17%
77%
‣Over 17% of commenters were actual VA employees, as noted in either
their comment or their Facebook profile. In some cases, their
employment was unknown.
‣The vast majority of comments by VA employees were negative.
Synoptos Inc.
 7
Part 2.
Program
Assessment
Figure 7: Social Media Comments by Source
Complaints in customer service
were lodged about these locations:
‣Dallas, TX
‣Denver, CO
‣KC VAMC
‣Los Angeles, CA
‣Manchester, NH
‣West Haven, CT
‣San Diego, CA
Compliments in customer service
were lodged about these locations:
‣Hampton, VA
‣West Haven, CT
‣Worcester, MA
‣Houston, TX
Table 2: Complaints & Compliments by Location
Figure 8 above shows the frequency with which Congress has engaged in
dialogue about Veterans Benefits on social media over recent years by time
and party. We then outlined the members most actively discussing these
topics. These are the members to target for appropriation efforts, or to ensure
policy efforts are successful.
Synoptos Inc.
 8
Part 3.
Policy
Analysis Congressional Mentions of "Small Business" by Party
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
2009-03-14
2009-04-11
2009-05-09
2009-06-06
2009-07-04
2009-08-01
2009-08-29
2009-09-26
2009-10-24
2009-11-21
2009-12-19
2010-01-16
2010-02-13
2010-03-13
2010-04-10
2010-05-08
2010-06-05
2010-07-03
2010-07-31
2010-08-28
2010-09-25
2010-10-23
2010-11-20
2010-12-18
2011-01-15
2011-02-12
2011-03-12
2011-04-09
2011-05-07
2011-06-04
2011-07-02
GOP
Dems
Price (R-GA)
Boehner (R-OH)
Buchanan (R-FL)
Blunt (R-MO)
Marchant (R-TX)
0 17.5 35.0 52.5 70.0
Figure 9. Top Mentioners of “Veterans”
Figure 8. Congressional Mentions of Veterans by Party & Time
March 2009 to July 2011
“Veterans benefits”
IV. Policy Analysis
V. Conclusion
Media Analysis
Overall, the VHA has a strong public presence, as evidence by the large
amount of news mentions and Facebook fans. Growth on digital and social
media is robust, although the agency would do well to amplify efforts on
Twitter, as the VHA ranks poorly among the larger agencies in Twitter
performance metrics. This may also help elevate the agency’s website traffic.
Also interesting is the fact that Veterans seem to be searching quite a lot for
jobs along with other VA services. The VHA would do well to enhance the
amount of information about jobs and job placement services within its
communication materials to remain relevant and engage Veterans during times
when they are not seeking medical care. Information from the VA’s Twitter
account and websites may be leveraged to meet this goal.
An additional analysis is recommended to ensure the VHA is adequately talking
about and addressing key issues discussed by Veterans on social media. The
analysis would analyze the differences in VHA outreach vs Veteran dialogue.
Program Assessment
This analysis revealed weaknesses in VHA customer service. Satisfaction with
VHA customer service across a variety of interactions was very poor and
identified locations where service had the lowest satisfaction rates. Customer
service complaints far exceeded complaints about quality of care received,
which appeared to be positive overall. The VHA would do well to create a new
program/initiative to improve customer service interactions. Additional
research can identify the exact interactions causing the greatest
dissatisfaction.
Also interesting was the fact that a high percentage of VA employees
contributed to the negative dialogue about the VA and VHA services. VA
employees should be evangelists for the agency. The fact that they were
contributing to the negative conversations demonstrates a weakness in
internal communications to compel VA employees to discuss various initiatives
- if any - to address certain problems the agency is facing and/or to talk about
progress the agency has been making in handling these problems. The fact
that VA employees were not promoting the agency’s work suggests that they
Synoptos Inc.
 9
Part 4.
Conclusion
were either ill informed of initiatives, unconvinced current efforts are effective,
and/or dissatisfied in general with the agency and seeking a cathartic outlet.
Of particular note is the fact that the New Haven facility received a significant
amount of positive and negative mentions. On a closer examination, we were
able to determine the positive mentions were newer than the negative
mentions, indicating some shift in policy occurred which made its patrons
more satisfied with their services.
Policy Analysis
This analysis was intended only for demonstration purposes to showcase
types of policy analyses that can be completed to determine trends in political
dialogue and the key influencers of that dialogue. The information is useful for
staying on top of pending policy and legislative changes, the political climate,
and any proposals on the table for legislative considerations.
This type of analysis can also be used to track trends in dialogue at and
complaints sent to VA medical centers around the country. Synoptos Inc. is the
only firm capable of providing such analyses.
Synoptos Inc.
 10
Part 4.
Conclusion
About Synoptos Inc.
Synoptos Inc. is a non-partisan, Virginia-based technology and consulting firm
dedicated to improving public sector communications.
This analysis was made possible by the National Science Foundation, which
provides grant funding to Synoptos Inc. to create digital tools to evaluate and
enhance communications within the government and political community.
About the Author
Andrew B. Einhorn is the CEO and Cofounder of
Synoptos Inc. and a public health and communications
consultant with a decade of industry experience.
Mr. Einhorn heads research and development efforts of a
National Science Foundation-funded media monitoring
platform created exclusively for government. As an
adjunct faculty member at Georgetown University, Mr.
Einhorn’s research interests included the application of new and social media to
health communications. As a consultant and former Senior Associate at ICF
International, Mr. Einhorn supplied technical assistance and social media strategy
and support to a wide variety of public and private sector clients.
Mr. Einhorn is a published author, columnist for the Huffington Post, and highly
sought after social media trainer. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from
Emory University and a Masters of Science in Engineering Management from The
George Washington University.
For more information, visit Synoptos.com.
Synoptos Inc.
 11

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Vha baseline analysis

  • 1. Delivered: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 Prepared By: Andrew B. Einhorn, M.S. Synoptos Inc T 703-243-3461 http://synoptos.com Veterans Health Administration Media & Policy Analysis
  • 2. This report assesses the communications efforts of the Veterans Health Administration and analyzes veterans’ reactions to VHA services over a three month period. The study included a review of a dozen key performance indicators. The analysis revealed that Veterans are predominately unhappy about VHA services, the VHA lags among large federal agencies in its Twitter use, and VHA employees are contributing substantially to the negative publicity the VHA receives on social media. Summary of Findings
  • 3. I. VHA Media Analysis Synoptos Inc analyzed the public profile of the Veterans Health Administration over the period beginning April 2, 2011 to June 2, 2011. Part 1 of the analysis examines trends in news mentions and Twitter mentions along with growth on social media platforms for the VHA. Synoptos Inc. 3 Part 1. Media Analysis 20% 80% Male Female Figure 2: Twitter Mentions by Gender Facebook Fans 35,4000 +12.4% Twitter Followers 6,769 +17.0% Retweets 858 +9.4% People Reached 246,000 +6.7% Tw Mentions 2297 +1.0% Tweet Sents 494 -2.5% Tweet/Retweet 1.73 +15.4% Table 1: Social Media Engagement
  • 4. II. Benchmark Analysis For this analysis, we compared the media mentions of the Veterans Health Administration to several hundred large federal agencies to determine which agency has the greatest public footprint and to identify areas needing improvement. Results are displayed as percentiles across the distribution of agencies analyzed for each metric. Table 2. Percentile Rank Among Large Agencies by Metric This Month Last Month Three Months Facebook Fans Twitter Followers News Mentions Twitter Mentions Tweets Sent Retweets Website Rank 75th 80th 80th 30th 33rd 30th 37th 60th 50th 43rd 40th 44th 70th 40th 40th 50th 70th 59th 40th 40th 40th IIa. Web Analysis To enhance understanding of how Veterans look for information, we analyzed searches performed on search engines to locate popular search terms used. Veterans Benefits Veterans Association Veterans Jobs Jobs for Veterans Veterans Services Veterans Assistance Veterans Administration Veterans Medical Benefits Help for Veterans Veteran Employment GI Bill Veterans Homes Veterans Services 0 150,000 300,000 450,000 600,000 Figure 3. Average Monthly Searches Synoptos Inc. 4 Part 1. Media Analysis
  • 5. III. Program Assessment For this analysis, Synoptos Inc. analyzed the content of social media comments placed on VHA social media properties to identify trends in the beliefs about the VHA, problems facing the VHA and its facilities, and how people feel about VHA services. A sample of 1,000 comments were analyzed. Figure 2: Social Media Comments by Tone Negative Positive Neutral 15% 25% 60% Synoptos Inc. 5 Part 2. Program Assessment ‣Comments were found to be overwhelmingly negative. ‣Only 25% of comments were positive, with most positive comments having to do with support of veterans themselves and not of VHA programs.
  • 6. General Criticism Praise Specific Complaint Suggestion Other 17% 7% 33% 12% 31% Customer Service Legal Bureaucracy Claims Employment Practices Medical Care Quality of Care Veterans Volunteering Other 2%1%5% 5% 2% 5% 7% 7% 6% 60% Synoptos Inc. 6 Part 2. Program Assessment Figure 5: Social Media Comments by Type ‣The vast majority of comments dealt with criticisms of the VHA in general or specific complaints about services or red tape. ‣Only 12% of comments gave praise, though few were directed at the VHA. Most praise was about Veterans protecting the nation. Figure 6: Complaints About the VA by Topic ‣Topics varied, but 60% of the comments highlighted customer service at VA hospitals and clinics with most comments being negative. ‣Only 5% of comments addressed quality of care received. The vast majority targeted the VHA advocate program and issues with bureaucracy or long paperwork processing times.
  • 7. Non-VA Employee VA Employee Unknown 6% 17% 77% ‣Over 17% of commenters were actual VA employees, as noted in either their comment or their Facebook profile. In some cases, their employment was unknown. ‣The vast majority of comments by VA employees were negative. Synoptos Inc. 7 Part 2. Program Assessment Figure 7: Social Media Comments by Source Complaints in customer service were lodged about these locations: ‣Dallas, TX ‣Denver, CO ‣KC VAMC ‣Los Angeles, CA ‣Manchester, NH ‣West Haven, CT ‣San Diego, CA Compliments in customer service were lodged about these locations: ‣Hampton, VA ‣West Haven, CT ‣Worcester, MA ‣Houston, TX Table 2: Complaints & Compliments by Location
  • 8. Figure 8 above shows the frequency with which Congress has engaged in dialogue about Veterans Benefits on social media over recent years by time and party. We then outlined the members most actively discussing these topics. These are the members to target for appropriation efforts, or to ensure policy efforts are successful. Synoptos Inc. 8 Part 3. Policy Analysis Congressional Mentions of "Small Business" by Party 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 2009-03-14 2009-04-11 2009-05-09 2009-06-06 2009-07-04 2009-08-01 2009-08-29 2009-09-26 2009-10-24 2009-11-21 2009-12-19 2010-01-16 2010-02-13 2010-03-13 2010-04-10 2010-05-08 2010-06-05 2010-07-03 2010-07-31 2010-08-28 2010-09-25 2010-10-23 2010-11-20 2010-12-18 2011-01-15 2011-02-12 2011-03-12 2011-04-09 2011-05-07 2011-06-04 2011-07-02 GOP Dems Price (R-GA) Boehner (R-OH) Buchanan (R-FL) Blunt (R-MO) Marchant (R-TX) 0 17.5 35.0 52.5 70.0 Figure 9. Top Mentioners of “Veterans” Figure 8. Congressional Mentions of Veterans by Party & Time March 2009 to July 2011 “Veterans benefits” IV. Policy Analysis
  • 9. V. Conclusion Media Analysis Overall, the VHA has a strong public presence, as evidence by the large amount of news mentions and Facebook fans. Growth on digital and social media is robust, although the agency would do well to amplify efforts on Twitter, as the VHA ranks poorly among the larger agencies in Twitter performance metrics. This may also help elevate the agency’s website traffic. Also interesting is the fact that Veterans seem to be searching quite a lot for jobs along with other VA services. The VHA would do well to enhance the amount of information about jobs and job placement services within its communication materials to remain relevant and engage Veterans during times when they are not seeking medical care. Information from the VA’s Twitter account and websites may be leveraged to meet this goal. An additional analysis is recommended to ensure the VHA is adequately talking about and addressing key issues discussed by Veterans on social media. The analysis would analyze the differences in VHA outreach vs Veteran dialogue. Program Assessment This analysis revealed weaknesses in VHA customer service. Satisfaction with VHA customer service across a variety of interactions was very poor and identified locations where service had the lowest satisfaction rates. Customer service complaints far exceeded complaints about quality of care received, which appeared to be positive overall. The VHA would do well to create a new program/initiative to improve customer service interactions. Additional research can identify the exact interactions causing the greatest dissatisfaction. Also interesting was the fact that a high percentage of VA employees contributed to the negative dialogue about the VA and VHA services. VA employees should be evangelists for the agency. The fact that they were contributing to the negative conversations demonstrates a weakness in internal communications to compel VA employees to discuss various initiatives - if any - to address certain problems the agency is facing and/or to talk about progress the agency has been making in handling these problems. The fact that VA employees were not promoting the agency’s work suggests that they Synoptos Inc. 9 Part 4. Conclusion
  • 10. were either ill informed of initiatives, unconvinced current efforts are effective, and/or dissatisfied in general with the agency and seeking a cathartic outlet. Of particular note is the fact that the New Haven facility received a significant amount of positive and negative mentions. On a closer examination, we were able to determine the positive mentions were newer than the negative mentions, indicating some shift in policy occurred which made its patrons more satisfied with their services. Policy Analysis This analysis was intended only for demonstration purposes to showcase types of policy analyses that can be completed to determine trends in political dialogue and the key influencers of that dialogue. The information is useful for staying on top of pending policy and legislative changes, the political climate, and any proposals on the table for legislative considerations. This type of analysis can also be used to track trends in dialogue at and complaints sent to VA medical centers around the country. Synoptos Inc. is the only firm capable of providing such analyses. Synoptos Inc. 10 Part 4. Conclusion
  • 11. About Synoptos Inc. Synoptos Inc. is a non-partisan, Virginia-based technology and consulting firm dedicated to improving public sector communications. This analysis was made possible by the National Science Foundation, which provides grant funding to Synoptos Inc. to create digital tools to evaluate and enhance communications within the government and political community. About the Author Andrew B. Einhorn is the CEO and Cofounder of Synoptos Inc. and a public health and communications consultant with a decade of industry experience. Mr. Einhorn heads research and development efforts of a National Science Foundation-funded media monitoring platform created exclusively for government. As an adjunct faculty member at Georgetown University, Mr. Einhorn’s research interests included the application of new and social media to health communications. As a consultant and former Senior Associate at ICF International, Mr. Einhorn supplied technical assistance and social media strategy and support to a wide variety of public and private sector clients. Mr. Einhorn is a published author, columnist for the Huffington Post, and highly sought after social media trainer. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Emory University and a Masters of Science in Engineering Management from The George Washington University. For more information, visit Synoptos.com. Synoptos Inc. 11