Getting a Pulse on Health and Human Services

The federal healthcare market is a dynamic space that plays a role in many of today's key political and societal challenges. From insurance reform, to identity theft and ransomware attacks, to a focus on the opioid crisis, healthcare has been front and center in the news cycles. Agencies across the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are intimately involved in responses to these challenges. It is a large and complex organization that relies on the help of industry partners to meet the ever-evolving public health needs of the nation.

Some current key challenges facing the Department are:

  • IT modernization - About 40 percent of the systems of record in HHS are legacy systems in need of modernization. The agency has a goal of bringing 30 percent of its operational systems into the cloud in the coming years. It will do this with an annual IT spend of $13.8 billion.
  • Interoperability - As part of the IT modernization, HHS is looking at interoperability as a key solution. Interoperability, of course, has a technical component, including looking at key tech trends such as blockchain and HL7 FHIR. There is also the need for process interoperability, including changing procurement policy and practices.
  • HIPAA - Having been on the books for over 20 years, HIPAA is still evolving to meet the needs of today's providers and patients. In an age of data breaches, compliance with HIPAA security guidance is a key focus of all health organizations. While IT security may be getting beefed up, other guidance is being loosened to better serve the public health. Recently, HHS released new guidance on when and how healthcare providers can share a patient's health information with family members, friends, and/or a legal representative when a patient is in crisis from opioid abuse.

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Behind the Curtain: Oracle Federal Forum

Now in its tenth year, the Oracle Federal Forum is taking a fresh approach to its annual show. As always, it brings together government technology, business and industry leadership, IT experts of every flavor, as well as technology thought-leaders to provide a hands-on look at the future of government IT.

Oracle's Federal Forum theme this year is, "Modern Cloud, Endless Possibilities," and is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 14, at the Marriott Marquis hotel in Washington, D.C. Oracle and its industry partners will examine how agencies can begin embracing the power of cloud computing while also acknowledging that government has considerable investments in existing, on-premises technology. In addition to being a hands-on technology event, Oracle will also offer sessions and workshops on more business-oriented content for HR, finance and budgeting, and marketing professionals.

The team at Oracle took some time away from their planning and preparation to share some insights on what people can expect from this year's event.

With 2017 being the tenth anniversary for this event, can you share a little bit about how the Federal Forum has changed over the years? Continue reading

What’s an Event Worth?

There is no magic formula for what an organization should spend on producing events, but there are some facts and trends that can be used to better calculate the event line item in 2018 budgets. Beyond venue rental fees and food and beverage purchases, there are many more elements that factor into the cost (and eventual ROI) of an event.

We've pulled together a couple of guidelines from industry research as well as advice from our organizer members, to help with budget allocations for events. Continue reading

Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience means more than knowing their names and titles. It means understanding what impact demographics, geography, behavior, and attitudes will have on how they participate in your event and what they take away from it.

Here are a few items to consider:

  • Demographics - While stats on age, gender, and ethnicity can paint broad brushstrokes of generalizations, they can also provide some really interesting insights that can make your event more personal for attendees. Take advantage of growing diversity in your attendees by highlighting different types of cuisines. This will serve to make some people feel at home while introducing others to new foods and traditions. If your attendees skew to a younger demographic having free, reliable wifi will be expected and critical to their event experience.
  • Geography - Do your attendees live near your event site? If travel is involved for many, providing a city guide will be a good addition to all of the event material. Do many of your attendees take public transportation to get to your event? Hand sanitizer in the event goody bag (handed out at the beginning of the event) may be a welcome Will a good number of people be getting a cab or Uber to leave your event? Picking a venue with heated porticos during the winter months is a nice consideration.
  • Behavior -- How many of your attendees are active on social media? If you have a group with low participation, then scaling back social media efforts at the show makes a lot of sense. While it can still be a great way to attract new attendees, if social is not used by the majority of people attending, things like hashtag contests and photo booths will not be of interest.
  • Attitude -- Knowing what is going on in your attendees' professional sphere is important. For a government audience, is sequestration looming? If so, stress and tensions may be high. This can influence the tone of information presented (recognizing the stress) as well as the activities offered (yoga or massage chairs for relaxation).

More than the things you do at the event, knowing the audience allows for the event to be tailored to what they want to hear, not what you want to tell them. What are some examples of "know your audience" changes you've made or seen at events? Share your thoughts in the comments.


Planning for the Worst: Making Disaster Recovery a Priority

Hurricanes, wildfires, gun violence, data breaches. It's been a rough news cycle and an even rougher reality. As painful as it is to think about these recent events, it is important for organizations to plan for the worst. This includes the logistical (if we lose access to our building, how will we work?), the technical (how do we maintain access to our data and IT systems?), and the personal (how do we contact and support employees during a disaster?).

Lucky for those of us who shudder at thinking about worst-case scenarios, there are professionals whose job it is to map out a plan that can be used in the event of disaster. These disaster recovery experts share theoretical and tactical guidance at a number of events throughout the year. Below are some upcoming events listed on GovEvents that can help anyone be better prepared for a disaster:

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