As we move deeper into a digital world, health and human services leaders have more and more data at their fingertips. When this data can be shared across agencies in real-time and is structured in a user-friendly, objective, and informative way, it can play a critical role in seeding breakthrough innovations. In particular, health and human services leaders can identify new opportunities to improve the client experience, reduce costs, enable population health management, enhance care, provide greater equity, and focus on interventions for clients who touch multiple health and human services systems.
In 2011, Finland’s healthcare and social services leaders faced an extremely challenging set of circumstances. To begin with, there were a number of troubling trends—including the aging of the Finnish population and an increase in the prevalence of chronic diseases—that portended a surge in demand for their services. At the same time, providers were dealing with increasingly complex cases—a difficulty that stemmed from the numerous clients and patients who had multiple conditions and were oscillating between the health and social services systems.
In late 2015, four leaders—William Hazel, the Secretary of Health and Human Resources for the Commonwealth of Virginia; Dr. Craig Ramey, a professor at Virginia Tech; and Accenture’s Howard Hendrick and Gary Glickman—began dissecting a simple but critical question. “What,” Glickman recalled, “are we trying to do for kids?”
In 2011, officials from the State of Ohio performed a cost-benefit analysis of the state’s spending on health and human services, and the results were alarming. On the one hand, per capita healthcare spending in Ohio was higher than all but 17 other states. On the other hand, Ohio had one of the least healthy workforces in the country. As dismaying as this situation was, newly-elected Governor John Kasich also realized that the state’s limited return on its health and human services investment created a powerful case for change.
In late 2015, officials at two key agencies in California’s state government faced a decision that would have a significant impact on the wellbeing of hundreds of thousands of the state’s most vulnerable residents. The California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) and the state’s Government Operations Agency (GovOps) were preparing to replace the Child Welfare Services case management system, and the Department of Social Services (DSS), part of CHHS, wanted to devise a new system that maximized efficiency and impact. Unfortunately, the initial Request for Proposals (RFP) was more than 1,500 pages long and used a monolithic “waterfall” approach that ran the risk of binding the state to an ineffective vendor.
In spring 2014, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) faced a crisis. That April, the national media had begun reporting on allegations of long wait times and false record keeping at VA medical facilities across the country. The coverage resulted in Congressional hearings as well as separate investigations by the FBI, the White House, and VA’s Inspector General that confirmed many of the allegations and led to the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki in late May. The problems facing VA stemmed in part from the agency’s dependence on outdated legacy systems, variance in veteran outcomes across the enterprise, and its failure to keep pace with technological change.
During six years as a senior executive at Gateway, including one year as the computer manufacturer’s CEO, Rick Snyder came to appreciate the central role that computers and Information Technology (IT) play in peoples’ lives and the economy. Soon after becoming the governor of Michigan in January 2011, Snyder realized that the state had a long way to go to establish a strong IT-citizen interface.
At the turn of the 21st century, The Stanley Works (Stanley) appeared to be in excellent position. Founded in the mid-19th century as a small family business, the firm—which specialized in hand tools for the construction industry—had blossomed into a multi-national company with approximately $2.7 billion in annual revenue. Nonetheless, Stanley officials feared that the firm was not positioned to thrive in the next century.
In 2005, the National Cash Register Corporation (NCR) stood at a crossroads. Founded in the late nineteenth century and famous for having invented the mechanical cash register, the firm had become a leader in manufacturing hardware to process financial transactions and a significant player in the data warehousing market. Unfortunately, at the turn of the 21st century, the firm’s competitive advantage was eroding—quickly.
In late 2013, Accenture was at an inflection point. Throughout most of its history, the firm had functioned as a consultancy. By then, however, it had evolved into a multi-dimensional business with wings devoted to consulting, strategy, technology, and operations. Accenture’s diversification forced the entire company to evolve, but it created particularly acute pressure for the finance division to adapt.