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  • Success Story
  • My Health E Vet

More than 1 Million Engaged Veterans Connected to Critical Health Information with govDelivery


The Department of Veterans Affairs’ My HealtheVet portal provides critical health care information and services to veterans. In 2015, the VA turned to Granicus to help define the digital footprint for its portal, leveraging Granicus Experience Group, our in-house team of strategists and expert communicators, and govDelivery to enable timely, health-related, outbound digital communications for veterans. In 2017, My HealtheVet expanded its use of govDelivery to improve engagement with its e-newsletter program.


  • 42% Engagement Rate By delivering content Veterans want to read, engagement rates increased past benchmark goals
  • 1M+ Active Subscribers Data-driven approach has driven subscriptions past the one million subscriber mark in just a few short years
  • 12% Click Rate Click through rate on newsletters exceeds benchmark goals
Must have Granicus Solutions

Early Success, Larger Engagement Opportunities

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is one of the federal government’s largest departments, providing those who have served in the United States Armed Forces with a range of entitled benefits, including health care, disability insurance, employment training, educational assistance, and home loans.

As part of their health care benefit, veterans have access to My HealtheVet, an online health portal where they can send secure messages to their doctors, check lab results, manage appointments, and request prescription refills.

While the portal launched in 2003, it wasn’t until 2015 that the VA decided to launch an e-newsletter aimed at informing and educating veterans about their health options.

Through early promotions and internal campaigns, the VA was able to grow its subscriber base to 30,000. A planned website refresh in 2015 led the VA to engage with Granicus, partnering with GXG and leveraging govDelivery to create a strategy that drove subscribers to 500,000.

But with more than three million My HealtheVet registrants, the team knew simply publishing information to its website would be insufficient. Chip Harman, My HealtheVet Content Strategy Manager, looked to not only grow the number of newsletter subscribers, but do so in a way that engaged them more directly in their health care.


Leveraging Data to Increase Engagement

The VA found comprehensive growth and engagement capabilities in the same tool that had helped Harman’s digital team expand their subscriber base previously: govDelivery. The My HealtheVet portal first employed govDelivery as part of a campaign that grew their mailing lists from 30,000 to 500,000 subscribers after a website redesign.

Now Harman found that by leveraging Google Analytics and online survey results with the capabilities of the govDelivery platform, his team could not only better understand what type of content connected with subscribers, but better engage with those readers, ultimately attracting more subscribers.

“By digging into Google Analytics data and responses from short online surveys, we were able to find real gems in the comments and topics,” said Harman. “Getting metrics is important. But being able to use actionable data to pivot on strategy and the content that we provide makes an even bigger difference.”

Creating and identifying personas is a common part of marketing efforts at many different companies. By working with customer data, marketers are able to create a profile of a “typical” user in each of the audience segments. For the My HealtheVet team, the additional aspect of military service presented unique demographic segments to factor into their strategy, bringing generational and experiential differences that could impact what messaging resonated with readers.

“One of our goals was to identify what is relevant to our audiences, and know the attitudes of each of the demographics, while balancing that with agency priorities,” said Harman. “It was important for us to know what our audiences liked about us. Then we had to make sure we were consistent in the messaging and that balance. ”

That balance of survey information, as well as real-time and historical data from the govDelivery system, helped Harman’s team identify new topic areas to introduce in both their content and newsletter topics, as well as identify ways to improve their content for better user engagement. Agency priorities such as suicide prevention and access to VA care were balanced with health care topics that ranked high in audience feedback.

That approach to timeliness and flexibility is something that Harman said was critical to creating content that encouraged increased engagement from audiences.

“You can modify or alter the intent of your message based on what experience and past data has shown,” he said. “And, later, we can review data that highlights opportunities we may have missed that can be applied in future communications. We’re at that point now where we know what will and won’t fly and can determine the best way to convey an intended message.”


More than 1 Million Engaged Veterans Connected to Their Health Information

  • Integrating this strategic data-driven approach to the My HealtheVet newsletter has driven subscriptions past the one million subscriber mark in just a few short years.
  • 42% engagement rates and 12% click rates on newsletters lead Harman to report, “We’re well over our benchmark targets.”
  • A two-week cycle of data reporting from govDelivery allows the team to quickly measure success and get the best possible responses from their content. Plus, it’s created a data-driven culture and approach when it comes to prioritizing messages and content.



Disclaimer: Inclusion in this Success Story does not imply that the Veteran’s Administration endorses govDelivery. This piece is strictly intended to provide information regarding the VA’s success using a collaborative and customer-centric digital approach to reach and engage more Veterans.