Deltek Analyst Stephen Moss reports.
Sitting in the audience at nearly any human services conference over the past year, it seems the same discussion is occurring over and over again with equal fervor and varying levels of frustration. This discussion hinges on the topic of interoperability – a new term to describe an idea that has been around for a long time.
Interoperability, though elusive in the minds of many, is neither a new nor difficult concept to grasp. An individual in need approaches their state’s health and human services organization and requests assistance. At this point, to varying degrees, bureaucracy sets in motion a number of processes and systems – not always compatible and often defying common sense – to determine if the client should receive benefits.
Wouldn’t it be great if that individual could go to their local office or website to find out which state programs they are eligible for, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Medicaid? Not only would it be great, it would be more efficient, cost-effective, and just plain easier for everyone involved. So, how do we make it happen? It is this dilemma that is driving conversation in the post-Affordable Care Act health and human services world. In this world, a public policy consensus defying party identification has been met with technology capabilities to drive a move toward interoperability.
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