Governments are overwhelmed balancing consumer expectations, aging workforce, regulations, rapid technology change and fiscal deficits. This blog gathers a community of SMEs who discuss trends and outline how public sector organizations can leverage relevant best practices to drive their software-led transformation and build the future of technology – today!

November 26, 2020

Looking past the lockdowns: Social programs in a post COVID age

Here in Oregon we are entering our second major lock down of the COVID era: restaurants closed for dine-in, metered access to grocery stores, and generally just stay at home. A difficult winter awaits us, but there is light on the horizon. Recent announcements regarding vaccines, along with commitment from the technology industry to help distribute them, leads to optimism and growing belief in a time when things get back to normal.

There will be more heartbreak in the social programs' world. Caseloads in child services are low and that is because they may not have been reported. When schools open, the floodgates will open also, and the caseloads will increase. The question is how to respond to these increasing caseloads? And what lessons did we learn? 

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April 15, 2020

The remote caseworker conundrum

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt every facet of human life and state and federal governments enforce 'shelter in place', the caseworkers who handle social and health programs are finding it difficult to adapt on the job.

Other than making sure there is no disruption to any assistance to an already vulnerable population, they need to figure out how to carry on with their day-to-day operations. How does the eligibility worker handle the multiple face-to-face interviews scheduled for the day? What safety precautions does the site visit inspector have to take when inspecting a home or facility? Is it even advisable for the welfare workers to physically work out of an office building?

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March 26, 2020

Making emergency social program delivery effective

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only put a brake on life in the fast lane for most of us but has also shown how poorly prepared we are to deal with natural disasters and pandemics. Other than the obvious impact on health and wellbeing, loss of livelihood and associated income for a significant portion of the population is a major ripple effect. This, in turn, puts the spotlight on the social safety net and programs offered by the federal, state and county governments. Some lessons have been learned from Katrina and Sandy, however the scale of COVID-19 is unprecedented and will require solutions that require quick and flexible deployments

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March 18, 2020

Arresting the spread of COVID-19 with AI

From its beginnings in Wuhan, China and now dispersed to more than 120 countries, the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has infected over 211,000 people with a death toll of over 8,300 thus far.  This makes it one of the deadliest outbreaks that the world has ever faced.

Compared to the double-stranded RNA viruses like HIV, Ebola, and Influenza, COVID-19, a single-strand RNA virus, mutates rapidly. This makes its spread more challenging to arrest. The virus is proving to be extremely difficult to analyze as well. Even if scientists develop a vaccine (which might take as much as 18 months or so), there is a chance that it may not be completely effective. 

This is where AI can help. With the power and potential of next generation data science techniques and emerging technologies, healthcare agencies can effectively analyze, track and arrest the spread of coronaviruses like the COVID-19. 

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December 4, 2019

Digitizing Child Welfare Systems

Beyond the regulatory mandate of providing care and services to the most vulnerable citizens, investments in child welfare enable states to help the children succeed in life and contribute to a more productive society.

System applications used by states for administering their child welfare programs have evolved over time, however, caseworkers and agencies still face many challenges in delivering care and providing services to constituents.

Digitization of child welfare systems is an opportunity to address many of these challenges and enable agencies and case workers to effectively engage children and families, spend more time with them, use better information to make better decisions and provide superior service to their constituents.

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December 3, 2019

Navigating beyond insights with AI

I attended the Conference on Health IT and Analytics recently. The event sees participation from government health and human services (HHS) executives and includes discussions on the next big thing in HHS analytics. This year the focus was on leveraging AI (Artificial Intelligence)/Machine Learning (ML). Almost every person I spoke with mentioned that AI/ML-driven analytics is among the key initiatives that their agencies would like to explore in the near future.

This is not surprising. HHS agencies are looking for ways to arrest the escalating cost of healthcare and manage the impact of chronic diseases on the population and state resources. AI/ML-driven analytics can help.

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October 11, 2019

Digitizing training and development for public sector employees

All jurisdictions, including the DMV, face serious challenges with their workforce training and development.

In a State & Local Government Workforce survey by the Center for State Government & Excellence, over 60% of jurisdictions mentioned that they face workforce retention, development and engagement challenges. And, 80% mentioned that they lose experience, institutional knowledge and leadership when their older workers leave. This seriously impacts execution of core mission programs.

While there are many reasons for these workforce management challenges, one important factor is the inadequate (and probably ineffective) learning and development opportunities for employees.

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September 30, 2019

AI & DMVs: An approach to improve customer interactions and minimize fraud/illegal activity

Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies have various applications in the DMV space. In this blog, which is a detailed version of my session at AAMVA 2019 Region 1 Conference, I'll describe two of these- use of AI to improve customer engagement and to minimize fraud and illegal activity. I'll also discuss how motor vehicle and driver licensing agencies can navigate their AI adoption.

But before diving into these two use cases, allow me to outline my understanding of how an AI system works

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September 24, 2019

Treat the patient and not the disease

"Better late than never." It's good that we are realizing how our living environment, neighborhoods, and communities; schooling; quality of water and food; our income, access to transportation and our social interactions, relationships, behavior, habits and attitudinal aspects, etc., collectively termed as the "Social Determinants of Health" or SDoH, are influencing our state of health and outcomes.  

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September 10, 2019

A reference model for service-based/modular Integrated Eligibility

In my last blog, I discussed about Service-based or Modular Integrated Eligibility system and how it can help states build an integrated yet flexible technology landscape supporting all health and human services programs.

Let's look at the key blocks of a service-based IES that can help design a common reference architecture for the different health and human services programs.

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