How Mobile Apps are Improving Government Health and Human Services
Author(s): Denise Winkler, Posted on August 16th, 2013
Mobility, the ability to use computing capability without a pre-defined location and/or a hard connection to access information, is evolving rapidly. In the beginning, mobility meant accessing e-mails remotely or using a laptop to access information intermittently. Today, the convergence of mobility and changing workplace demographics has catapulted mobility to the top of the list of must-have improvements for public and private organizations.
Mobile devices have become an extension of the organization. The power of mobile devices has not only extended the enterprise, but has opened up new possibilities for in-field identification, verification, and reporting beyond a simple interface to back-office systems.
But it isn’t just innovation that is contributing to the demand for mobility in public Health and Human Services (HHS) organizations. Unemployment and underemployment have driven caseloads at these organizations to an all-time high, while budget cuts and declining state and local tax revenues are forcing them to do more with less. Many HHS agencies are looking to mobility as a tool to bridge the gap.
States are modernizing traditional legacy systems to support mobility as a means to improve efficiency and provide better support to workers. For example, a mobile app that enables child welfare workers to conduct complete child abuse investigations in the field can eliminate the time a worker spends manually entering data into case notes and forms while providing better access to historical information on the child. Another example is a mobile app that allows citizens receiving public assistance to upload required documents directly into the system using a smartphone rather than a worker scanning paper documents and manually uploading them. A child support app that allows a parent to submit a child support payment using their mobile phone is yet another example.
These mobility examples appear simple but in reality are quite powerful. The power of mobility within HHS can be measured in very human terms: An elderly person has food to eat because she can complete the application for food stamps online. Medical care for a disabled person or pregnant woman isn’t interrupted because they can submit their documentation using their smartphones. An abused child is rescued much faster because the nearest child welfare worker is dispatched immediately via smart phone.
Mobility solutions are optimizing HHS business processes, improving efficiency and contributing to improved outcomes for children and families.