A Data-Powered Approach to Health and Human Services

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 8.57.58 AM copyFor several years, HHS leaders have recognized the value of sharing data among state and local agencies and departments to improve overall case management. “No single area of innovation promises as much public value as the rapidly evolving areas that allow government officials to utilize data across agency and IT silos,” says Stephen Goldsmith, former deputy mayor of New York and mayor of Indianapolis, now a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Big Data has Big Promise in the Public Sector

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 3.44.18 PMBig data’s generating a lot of buzz these days — or is it hype? One thing’s for certain — big data is everywhere, and governments are no exception. Most governments collect and have access to as much, if not more data, than the private sector. The National Institutes of Health, for example, can access five million pictures of tumors. How many private healthcare institutions can make that claim?

Big data isn’t a magic bullet — those are in short supply — but it presents very real opportunities to transform public service by driving dramatic improvements to both citizen-facing services and internal workflow. Federal, state and local governments alike are sitting on a treasure trove of information, but often don’t know what to do with it or how to use it.

The Public Sector, Master Data Management and the Elusive Golden Record

informatica2_FotorThe digitization of government is having a dramatic impact on how agencies approach data, resulting in mountains of constituent data, which is in turn fed back into government systems. If government agencies are to provide consistent and efficient citizen services, this continuous feedback loop requires data quality, accuracy and consistency. Yet many government agencies operate without the benefit of a golden record — a single version of the truth that provides a holistic view of each citizen with which it works, whether the citizen plays the role of beneficiary, student, patient, taxpayer or even criminal, according to the mission of the agency.

Predictive Analytics and Medicaid Program Integrity

optum pi_FotorPublic benefits programs such as Medicaid are multidimensional, complex and continuously evolving. Because of concerns about program size, growth, diversity and adequacy of fiscal oversight, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) first designated Medicaid at high risk for fraud, waste and abuse in 2003, and it remains a high-risk program 12 years later. In fiscal year 2014, Medicaid distributed $508 billion, of which state governments shouldered $204 billion. With an overall improper payment rate of 6.7 percent, Medicaid lost more than $34 billion — and states bore the burden for about half that amount.

Silos are for Grain, Not Data

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 7_FotorIn their ongoing quest to improve efficiencies and services while lowering costs, governments are mining this data for actionable insights that can help them make better business decisions. But procuring an off-the-shelf analytics product and connecting it to a departmental database or application won’t always deliver Big Data’s real value. Many analytics efforts that only take into account information from a single department will deliver results in a vacuum.

Endpoint Security Analytics in the Federal Government

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 9.08.10 AM copyAs part of a complete security information and event management (SIEM) strategy, government chief information security officers (CISOs) and other security experts construct the best network defenses possible. But they’re hindered by the limitations of even the most robust security technologies, the majority of which are focused on network traffic. These tools detect known threats at the perimeter, but leave enterprise endpoints — laptops, desktops and servers — vulnerable to advanced breaches and unknown threats.