Nation's Health and Human Services Agencies Moving Forward with Digital Transformation, Report from CompTIA and the American Public Human Service Association Finds

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 General News
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Second Annual Survey of HHS Thought Leaders Examines Technology Challenges, Issues, Perspectives, and Trends

WASHINGTON, Oct. 24, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- State and local health and human services (HHS) agencies across

the United States continue to make progress in their use of digital technologies to become more effective and efficient, according to a new report released today by CompTIA and the American Public Human Services Association (APSHA).

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 "2017 Health and Human Services State of the States Survey" reveals.

Agencies are also making greater use of mobility technologies, self-services 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.

"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," said Jennifer Saha, director, public sector councils, CompTIA.

The second annual survey by CompTIA's Human Services Information Technology Advisory Group (HSITAG)  and APSHA offers insights from state and local health and human services thought leaders relative to agency IT issues, challenges, trends, and perspectives. The report will be presented at this year's IT Solutions Management for Human Services (ISM) Conference.

"Our partnership with CompTIA has allowed us to conduct new research revealing the most significant IT challenges state and local HHS thought leaders face. We firmly believe the results will not only raise the visibility of how agencies are addressing those challenges but will also enable or accelerate the ability of agencies across the country to meet their missions and generate solutions that work," said Tracy Wareing Evans, APHSA president and CEO.

Dozens of human services leaders at the state government level provided insight 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; and modularity.

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 respondents 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," Saha said.

For a copy of the report, please visit

MethodologyData for this study was collected via an online survey of state health and human services thought leaders with expertise and decision-making authority in various areas of technology as deployed in human services agencies. The online survey was supplemented with one-on-one telephone and in-person interviews conducted by HSITAG members to provide additional context and insights. Data collection occurred in July 2017.   

Contact:Lana Sansur 301-639-9892


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