Equity is highlighted in priority two of the President's Management Agenda (PMA), Delivering Excellent, Equitable, and Secure Federal Services and Customer Experience, and is a theme throughout all PMA priorities. Disaster response is possibly the most critical place to ensure equity. While a disaster does level the playing field in some ways-no matter how much money you have it won't stop a tornado from hitting your house-the recovery from disasters is not as fairly distributed.
A 2021 report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that disaster response is "uneven" across the country. The research found that small towns, rural and tribal areas, and underserved and disadvantaged communities have a hard time accessing federal disaster recovery assistance programs. Those that did access funds had difficulty achieving a full recovery with structures still damaged years later. A key to solving this gap? Data.Continue reading →
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been in the spotlight like never before with their critical role in managing the pandemic. While there is a lot of work still to be done on that front, other critical efforts are taking place across HHS agencies that will have an incredible impact on the health and well-being of citizens.
The necessity of sharing data to understand and respond to the pandemic spawned a host of new applications and a new openness to data sharing across HHS as well as governmentwide. The first major HHS data sharing platform was launched in April 2020. Named HHS Protect, this platform provided visibility into more than four billion data elements from 225 sources providing intelligence on rates of infection and hospitalizations. HHS is committed to expanding its use and sharing of data in all areas of its mission with programs including the Data Optimization Initiative, Administration for Children and Families Data Sharing Solutions, and the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA).Continue reading →
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.[Tweet "Getting a Pulse on Health and Human Services. #GovEventsBlog"]
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.[Tweet "Key challenges facing the HHS include: IT Modernization, Interoperability and HIPAA #GovEventsBlog"]