The Health Resources and Services Administration is taking advantage of a new IT infrastructure that comes with moving into a new building.
The modern technology, such as wireless and Voice over IP telephones, also opens the door for this bureau in the Department of Health and Human Services to a better use of data to make decisions.
Adriane Burton, the Health Resources and Services Administration’s chief information officer, said improving how the agency uses data is at the core of her priorities over the next year.
“We are implementing business intelligence capabilities at an enterprise level,” she said. “We are in the process of doing a pilot of deploying Tableau because we want to maximize our data not only within HRSA, but we collaborate with other HHS operating divisions, other state and local government agencies, other federal agencies so we want to make sure we have the tools in order to better utilize our data and external data sources as well.”
One way HRSA is doing that is through new dashboards. Burton said in the past the agency relied on data visualization that was static, but the new tools are changing that.
“We want to generate more agile dashboards so the capability exists in the hands of the program as opposed to having them come to IT to generate a special ad hoc report,” Burton said. “If we wanted to have ‘what if’ scenarios, it would be really great to have a tool that is agile enough so that we can actually do some ‘what if’ scenarios as opposed to right now, we are limited in our capabilities or it just takes too long. An organization such as HRSA, sometimes we need to be responsive and have the ability to generate information a lot quicker.”
She said the end goal with many of the IT upgrades and changes are to better support the business offices.
HRSA, like so many other agencies, is refocusing how it serves its internal and external customers. In many ways, the goal of the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) is to give CIOs more authority and oversight of business investments.
Burton said HRSA created an IT roundtable to discuss “pain points” of the business offices. She said the goal is to be more proactive to solving problems instead of reactive to challenges as they arise.
“There are some IT folks and a lot of program folks. What I want the roundtable to focus on is how can we solve some of the business problems across HRSA?” she said. “Another thing that we’ve done is implemented dashboards to measure our performance on a weekly basis from an OIT perspective. I try to make sure I reach out not just to the VIPs within an organization, but everyone to get feedback for how we can improve some of the systems.”
Burton said HRSA acting Administrator Jim Macrae developed a dashboard to look at various programs and operations across the organization.
Additionally, Burton said new change management procedures are helping to reduce end of the year IT disruptions during busy periods.
Along with the focus on data and customer service, Burton said HRSA has made progress with mobility, implementing a virtual private network (VPN) to support wireless, video and collaboration tools.