5 Health and Human Services Processes to Modernize Today

As the number of demands placed on Health and Human Services (HHS) agencies grows, so does the need to modernize technology and streamline workflows. Without improvements, employees are left struggling with outdated and cumbersome paper-based processes that take weeks or months to create, review and execute—leaving individuals, families, and children without the timely and critical services they need.

Although several technological solutions help agencies, case workers, and investigators become more efficient, the five technology trends below are helping leaders reshape their HHS departments and improve the experience for employees, providers, and families. 

1. Recruitment, hiring and HR management 

According to Julia Pollak, chief economist at ZipRecruiter, the private sector has recovered more than 90 percent of the jobs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic, while the public sector has only recovered 60 percent. This means government agencies must continue providing the same high-quality services with a significantly reduced workforce. Adding to this challenge, it’s estimated that caseworkers change jobs every 1-2 years, resulting in potential service gaps and delays.

To address some of the human resources challenges HHS agencies are facing, chief human resource officers have begun implementing processes that have been popular in the private sector for years, including:

  • Shifting to job portal platforms that allow candidates to easily find and apply for positions in the same online location—reducing the need to separately send applications and correspondence
  • Integrating solutions like Docusign eSignature into existing HRIS systems to collect and sign employment documents during the new hire onboarding process
  • Decreasing the use of paper-based HR forms such as timesheets and evaluations and moving to a completely digital submission and review process

2. Applications and enrollments

Health and Human Services customers have historically used lengthy and cumbersome processes when applying for services. Looking at the child welfare system as an example, it’s estimated that the foster care application process takes about 120 days to complete. And as more people gain access to computers, mobile devices, and the internet, the practice of printing forms, filling them out by hand, and uploading or mailing is becoming a thing of the past. Especially when benefits and application packets typically include references, fingerprints, background checks, medical exams, financial information and training certificates.

When multiple documents must be submitted and processed on paper, it creates barriers for individuals and families and delays in processing. Leading to lengthy response times for people that desperately need services.

Reviewing and signing documents online makes it easier for those applying for benefits to submit the necessary information. It also simplifies the process for the employees that need to review and approve the documents. No more tracking down paperwork or receiving constant calls asking if the documents have been submitted or received. Moving this process online also supports a hybrid working environment, which several HHS agencies have adopted in response to the pandemic.

3. Vendor management 

Health and Human Services agencies rely on industry partners, including private agencies, non-profits, and health care providers, to deliver efficient and critical services. Tools that enable and enhance collaboration and communication between vendors and agencies are vital to HHS operations.

Digitizing the entire contract lifecycle process enables HHS leaders and their staff to easily make contractual changes, track the millions of dollars they have in contracts, and know in real-time if a contract or vendor is out of compliance.

4. Support payments 

Several families and individuals with support agreements rely on HHS agencies to collect and distribute funds for their food, support, and healthcare needs.

Integrating pre-built online payment technology within an agency's existing agreement process allows agencies not only to collect mandated funds but also gives payees the flexibility to send secure payments using a trusted source like their credit card, debit card, electronic check, Apple Pay, or Google Pay. Enabling this feature can also reduce an agency’s carbon footprint, eliminate associated manual billing costs and encourage payment due to ease of use.

5. Compliance and reporting 

Accurate and timely reporting are critical components of any HHS operation. For every case, documentation is needed to ensure the appropriate level of engagement and care was performed in accordance with local, state, and federal guidelines. Additionally, HHS agencies are responsible for conducting regular audits to ensure their employees and service provider licenses and certifications are in compliance and up to date.

By digitizing forms, documents, and agreements and streamlining workflows, HHS agencies can help decrease compliance risk, improve customer outcomes, and proactively solve challenges based on the real-time data collected.

Meeting an HHS agency’s mission requires a wide range of services and technology solutions that enhance everything from inter-agency collaboration to public health and social service delivery. As the consumer healthcare arena is highly complex and regulated, HHS agencies also have to contend with processes and paperwork from acquisition (contract and grant lifecycle management) to distribution, compliance, online marketplaces, and much more.

Keeping the customer and the families at the center of all of these processes is paramount. To enhance customer experiences and accelerate service delivery, Docusign is partnering with state and local HHS agencies nationwide to streamline outdated processes and simplify cumbersome workflows that improve health and human services outcomes for all.

Contact us today to discover how Docusign can help your HHS agency modernize, digitize and streamline workflows—and better serve your constituents.

Shonte Eldridge
Sr. Director, State and Local Government Strategy