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Report: Most Statewide HHS Agencies are Upgrading Their IT Systems

November 16, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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Recently, the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) released the results of a new survey on state health and human service (HHS) agencies and programs and found that 43 percent of agencies have implemented a new HHS IT system within the past 10 years. While 57 percent say they haven’t modernized, most (55 percent) say they plan to do so over the next three-to-five years.

The report, “Achieving Maximum Value from HHS IT Systems: Critical Success Factors for Agency Transformation,” looks at how various statewide HHS agencies have implemented new IT systems. The survey, jointly done by APHSA and Microsoft, surveyed 67 agency program leaders from 35 states at various stages of modernizing their human services IT systems. This included those who have implemented IT for eligibility determination and benefit issuance, case management, and online self-service to those who aren’t there yet.

Of those who have modernized, each one said it’s important to extend system functionality with nondevelopers, while nearly all (80 percent) felt the amount of required customization and interoperability across programs and systems was not in line with expectations. For those who haven’t implemented a new IT system, 55 percent expect a new system to meet about 63 percent of their needs in the areas of customer-centricity, improved self-service, and improved decision-making.

“State human service agencies average spending $40 million over a three-year implementation timeframe, but the time has never been more opportune to benefit from IT advances to achieve the mission of HHS agencies,” Tracy Wareing, APHSA executive director, said in a statement.

Of those 19 percent who aren’t looking to implement new IT systems at all, most attribute it to a lack of funding.

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