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Microsoft And APHSA Survey Reveals Status Of Health And Human Services IT Modernization Efforts And A Promising Future For Transformation

REDMOND, Wash., and WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Public Human Services Association (APHSA), in coordination with Microsoft Corp., today released the results of a new survey of health and human services departments and agencies nationwide. The report, "A Promising Future for HHS Transformation — The Real Impact of IT System Modernization," includes survey findings that identify the expectations, strategies and practices that health and human services (HHS) agencies use for the planning, acquisition and implementation of their information technology (IT) systems.

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APHSA and Microsoft surveyed 67 agency program leaders from 35 states at various stages of modernizing their HHS IT systems, from those who have implemented solutions for eligibility determination and benefit issuance, case management, and online self-service to those who had not yet modernized. The survey focuses on capturing the agencies' experience with organizational transformation planning efforts, the agencies' system life-cycle challenges, and the impact and benefits the agencies experienced from IT modernization. The results revealed that with dynamic executive leadership, due diligence and solid program management practices, departments are seeing incremental benefits expected of IT modernization, but a number of challenges remain. With those challenges, a bright path exists to achieve the desired business benefits for transformation through the promise of today's technology.

The key takeaways from the survey are as follows:

Implementation

  • Forty-three percent of agencies have implemented a new HHS IT system within the past 10 years.
  • Fifty-seven percent have not modernized, yet most (55 percent) plan to do so over the next three to five years.
  • Nineteen percent of respondents had no plans to modernize, mainly due to lack of funding.
  • Of the states planning to modernize, approximately 22 percent are very likely to consider the cloud for future system deployment.

Timing

  • Forty percent of agencies surveyed experienced an implementation timeframe of more than three years when implementing a new system. Long timeframes generally correlate to agencies with a larger number of business rules and practices to re-engineer complex IT environments with multiple legacy systems, requiring extensive training and support. States with larger constituent populations also report longer implementation timeframes, but the programs themselves (e.g., Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Child Welfare, etc.) did not have a direct correlation.

Benefits and Expectations

  • State agencies planning to modernize (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.

A full report and APHSA webinar on the survey findings can be found at http://www.aphsa.org.

Of the states that modernized, 100 percent cited the need to extend system functionality with nondevelopers, and 80 percent felt the amount of required customization and interoperability across programs and systems was not in line with expectations. These deficiencies were perceived as factors that lead to project delays and contract and scope modifications.

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