HHS Modernization is a Marathon, Not A Sprint

Luckily for us in the HHS world, we know how to adjust our race strategy and find our stride when we need it the most.
Bob Nevins, Oracle | March 5, 2019 AT 11:00 AM
Runners in the New York City Marathon.
Runners in the New York City Marathon. (Flickr/taconicrr)

If you – like me – have spent any time working in the Health and Human Services (HHS) sector of government – you know that it’s a marathon – not a sprint, when it comes to modernizing aging IT systems!  And like any marathon, it requires stamina, focus, and the wherewithal to pivot your strategy along the race route.

State and local agencies are at a critical point in this HHS marathon. New technologies like cloud, artificial intelligence, machine learning, data driven analytics and autonomous services are offering HHS agency leaders the opportunity to think differently about how to create real change and a meaningful difference in the lives of the citizens they serve – and then measure that change to ensure continuous improvement.

Some HHS agencies have already embraced cloud-based software solutions for customer experience solutions to provide a better, more connected interface with citizens. Similarly, many call centers now run cloud-based CRM solutions that don’t require continuous reinvestment in the hardware to run the solution. Others are beginning to move their “on-premises” solutions out of their data centers and onto cloud Infrastructure-as- a-Service (IaaS) to provide better security, eliminate hardware/middleware refresh cycles, and serve as a low cost insurance policy for disaster recovery. All of these things are good ideas – and are providing incremental value.

However – it’s time that HHS agencies bring about transformational change using newer technologies – that are enabled by cloud, such as the following:

Artificial Intelligence and Data Science: HHS agencies house treasure troves of data – and now the improved tools associated with data integration and business analytics give agencies the ability to look across their programs and derive patterns and conclusions that weren’t possible before. Evidenced-based care and predictive analytic decision-making is a reality.

Digital Assistants and Chatbots: Digital assistant technology has advanced to now understand context, derive intent, and identify and learn user behaviors and patterns to proactively automate routine tasks. Think of the possibilities in the HHS world as it relates to eligibility determination, program assignment and real- time emergency assistance!

Trusted Transactions: Blockchain technology creates permanent and unalterable records of transactions.  A recent Governing survey of HHS agencies revealed that 30 percent of respondents expect it to be most beneficial for data sharing; 18 percent said it would benefit public records management; and 15 percent said they would consider it for compliance and regulation. Blockchain technology may also be the key to enabling the sharing of medical information for improving care in programs like Medicaid and Medicare.

Low-code Development: The demand for targeted business applications, the proliferation of data sources, and the speed (or lack thereof) at which IT departments address requests for new applications creates bottlenecks. Visual development tools can provide a cloud-hosted solution to easily empower developers to create and host applications allowing them to create engaging web and mobile applications that are hosted in a secure and scalable cloud platform.

Modernization is a marathon – not a sprint. Luckily for us in the HHS world, we know how to adjust our race strategy and find our stride when we need it the most. A little encouragement from the crowd doesn’t hurt either. Now is the time to get started!

Replay our webinar on HHS modernization to learn more.

About the Author

Bob Nevins is the Director of Health and Human Services Strategy and Business Development at Oracle.