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State of the States Survey Reveals State HHS Agencies’ Digital Progress

At the recent 2017 ISM Annual Conference in National Harbor, MD, CompTIA’s Human Services Information Technology Advisory Group (HSITAG) unveiled the results of the 2017 Health and Human Services (HHS) State of the States Survey done in partnership with the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA).

We surveyed dozens of human services leaders at the state and local government levels who provided insights on where the human services IT vertical is heading in the next year. They shared their perspectives on:

  • service delivery modernization
  • federal partnerships and interagency/state collaboration
  • governance
  • workforce optimization
  • cloud and cybersecurity
  • emerging trends/technology
  • modularity.

Leading the charge in HHS innovation is the expanded use of cloud-based services, with 74 percent of agencies reporting that they have applications in the cloud, up from 55 percent in 2016, the survey reveals.

Agencies are also making greater use of mobility technologies, self-serviced customer call centers and online consumer portals to modernize service delivery. Service providers are taking these steps even while dealing with the uncertainty of the ongoing federal healthcare debate.

HHS agencies, which deal with large volumes of personal information, are engaged and invested in improving their cybersecurity readiness. For example, 79 percent of agencies have adopted a cybersecurity framework based on national standards and guidelines. Also, 74 percent have developed security awareness training for workers and contracts.

The survey finds that agencies are focused on three areas as they seek to modernize service delivery:

  • Customer calls centers – More than 80 percent of those surveyed report having a call center, with 74 percent using an interactive or automated voice response system.
  • Mobility technologies – 45 percent of agencies surveyed indicate that mobility is a component of their service delivery system.
  • Consumer portals – Customer access via a portal continues to evolve, with activities such as application submissions, status checks on applications and benefits and general program information virtually universally available online.

The majority of respondents said that public policy debates and the uncertainties of policy direction at the national level impact their modernization efforts. Other inhibitors are at play, as well.  Among those surveyed, budget constraints are the greatest impediment to service delivery modernization efforts, followed by a three-way tie among governance challenges, workforce limitations, and organizational change.

One thing is for sure, while federal mandates for change in health and human services are slowing somewhat as public policy debates take place at the national level about the direction of federal programs, state agencies continue to face an immediate need for greater administrative efficiencies.

To learn more, and to get your copy of the survey report, click here.

CompTIA’s HSITAG works with all levels of government to advance delivery of human service programs, improving communications and enhancing partnerships between state and federal human services agencies, non-profits, and private sector IT firms. They focus on promoting reform of health and human services delivery and streamlining IT procurements.