The Quest for the HHS “Golden Record”

The Affordable Care Act has added some 20 million to the list of the now insured and spurred a drive for innovation to finally crack the code on bureaucratic delivery inefficiencies, quality and cost. Annual healthcare spending was $3.8 trillion and human services spending was $1.02 trillion in 2014, yet the U.S. healthcare system is ranked 37th in the world in keeping its population healthy, according to the World Health Organization.

Thanks to the thought leadership of Stewards of Change and dedicated HHS professionals across the country, significant progress has been made. Yet, with improved business processes and billions of dollars in technology investments, the nirvana of interoperability, information-sharing and integrated social determinants of health and wellness as an operational foundation still eludes us. Marginalized populations, especially the elderly and children are in increasing need of health equity.

One idea seems to have promise – a Human Services Golden Record. It would be similar to an electronic medical records (EMR) for clinical care coordination. Could a standardized single summary HHS record with simply a subset of the recipient’s demographic and programs history information, with all the baked-in security and confidentiality, be a critical element of interoperability and information-sharing?

The focus would be a Recipient 360 approach, a person-centric architecture, a data record independent of the myriad of necessary programmatic rules and regulations that currently inhabit case management, eligibility and related IT systems. Not to be confused with a Master Person Index (MPI) which is a necessary evil for integrating backend systems data, but a dynamic, human, readable record that provides real-time actionable decision support to the dedicated professionals who everyday are on the frontlines of serving those in need.

Where I work, we have a dedicated team of HHS subject matter experts with the bold ambition to empower every person on the planet to do more for themselves and their communities. Every day we work on delivering the promise of a Digital Transformation leveraging 21st century technologies for Medicaid, child welfare, WIC and scores of HHS programs. We have learned that progress only happens when the second H in HHS becomes the actual subject and verb of our efforts.

Please attend our panel discussion at the Stewards of Change National Symposium on June 13 and 14 to hear more about this important topic.