How has the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) become a center of data-driven innovation and IT procurement?
The mission of HHS is to “enhance the health and well-being of all Americans, by providing…effective health and human services and by fostering sound, sustained advances in the sciences underlying medicine, public health, and social services.” To accomplish this mission, HHS has engaged Macro Solutions to provide strategic support for a range of IT modernization and data initiatives.
Harnessing the power of data for an effective COVID-19 response
As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, it became clear that HHS needed a central way to make data collected by various divisions, including CDC, CMS, and HRSA, visible to first responders at federal, state, and local levels – and collect this data as fast as possible. To fulfill this need in an accelerated manner, HHS included Macro as part of a team to build and deploy HHS Protect, a secure data ecosystem for housing, sharing, parsing, and analyzing COVID-19 data – including metrics on national cases, testing, hospital admissions, deaths, and vaccine development and distribution. With HHS Protect, more than 200 disparate data sources are brought together into one ecosystem, so decision makers can guide action and save lives with a data-driven COVID-19 response.
Making the vaccination process easy and accessible to everyone
Macro also played a key role in the development of a help desk for Vaccines.gov – a CDC-operated website that connects citizens to COVID vaccine centers. Developed using Salesforce technology, the help desk uses automated workflows to enable agents to manage inquiries and cases, work more efficiently, resolve issues faster, and offer amazing service to citizens.
Supporting the ACF Unaccompanied Children program
Within days of crossing the border into the United States, unaccompanied children are transferred to the care of the HHS’ Office of Refugee Settlement. In 2021, a record number of migrant children were admitted into HHS custody. To handle the volume of cases with a high level of personalized care, Macro supported HHS to quickly develop a data-driven case management system to track and support every child from apprehension to reunification with a relative or sponsor. Integrating multiple data flows and touch points, the system also integrates critical post-release services, including mental health counseling, legal representation, and English language skill development.
Safeguarding the pay and benefits of HHS employees
How does the HHS process payroll and benefits for over 80,000 personnel without missing a beat? One micro touch point at a time. When it comes to Enterprise Human Resource and Payroll (EHRP) systems, HHS divisions like NIH and the CDC have very special needs. They must process the hiring and payroll of doctors, nurses and specialized scientists in a way that cannot be supported by traditional pay schedules. They must also accommodate annual processes including Federal Employee Health Benefits Open Season, Pay Raises, Combined Federal Campaign, and Thrift Saving Program changes. To find opportunities for improvement and efficiencies, each year Macro reviews and evaluates HHS’ EHRP systems and processes in a “lessons learned forum” – and applies those lessons to continuously reinvent and improve processes. Using CMMI Level-3 certified agile problem solving, we have helped break down internal silos at the micro level – giving HHS leaders the power to make faster decisions, with more data at their fingertips.
Implementing the HHS OCIO data strategy
The need to leverage data as a strategic asset has never been more vital than it is today. Macro is a critical partner in helping the HHS Chief Data Officer (CDO) achieve this goal. Our work has touched several initiatives, including developing the overall Office of the CDO (OCDO) strategy and participating in a data sharing workgroup that promotes best practices from the OCDO on data collection, management, uses, and sharing. Macro also assisted in the simplification of the process of labelling sensitive, not secret, data to better protect personal information and HHS research.
Helping HHS OCIO to embrace Agile
Macro is also helping to implement Agile tooling for DevOps in support of a key HHS initiative – HHS Connect. Based on Salesforce technology and using Azure DevOps for continuous delivery and rapid value realization, the site breaks data silos and sets standards for sharing medical information, including COVID-19 data. With Macro’s help, senior leaders within the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) now benefit from best practices for Agile task management.
Improving the HHS OCIO budget execution and acquisition processes
A key goal of the HHS OCIO is to streamline the way products and services are acquired within the department so that the OCIO can help HHS and its family of agencies realize economies of scale, take advantage of the Office’s procurement power, limit shadow IT, and benefit from the OCIO’s efficiencies. With all these things in place, Macro is advancing the OCIO’s mission by helping HHS rethink its IT products and services acquisition process, implement Agile methodologies, and engage operating divisions to promote OCIO as the most cost-effective, efficient, highest quality provider of IT services.