Consumer Engagement in Health and Human Services: Why Closing the Loop is Essential to Achieving the Triple Aim

23 April 2014 | Dave Meyers, Microsoft Director of Business Development, HHS

One lasting IT precept says that while technology can help make efficient processes more efficient, it can also make inefficient ones more inefficient. Few industries illustrate the latter better than Health and Human Services (HHS).

Since the 1980s, the HHS industry has invested heavily in various technology platforms to gain greater efficiencies, productivity and quality of care. However, all the different platforms have spawned a growing problem that’s diminishing these returns: patients and clients are too often falling through the cracks in the industry’s patchwork of disconnected systems.

Two other trends have amplified the impact of this phenomenon in the US. One is increased outpatient healthcare along with the de-institutionalization of developmentally disabled and social services delivery. The other is an increasingly mobile population, whether it is patients moving from institutions into the community settings or with people moving from regions in decline to ones of opportunity and with baby boomers moving to warmer climates.

The resulting fragmentation has made it harder than ever for HHS providers to coordinate continuous care for their patients and clients. In many ways, technology’s disconnects have made the HHS industry’s inherent inefficiencies worse.

Fortunately, advances in mobile, cloud, and care coordination solutions, especially client relationship management (CRM) applications, promise to address this fragmentation. Using what we call “connected HHS,” the industry is adopting a transformational, IT-enabled service delivery model that focuses on care coordination and improved outcomes by putting patients and clients at its center. With this approach, HHS professionals can begin to:

  • Connect information. When they can access client and patient data more quickly and easily anytime, anywhere and across just about any device, they can develop and deliver more informed and effective treatment plans
  • Promote collaboration. When they can work together more easily—whether through better program or case management, coordinated workflows, or information access—they can provide more timely and targeted interventions and services to help improve patient and client outcomes
  • Support decisions. When they can have the right information in the right hands at the right time, they can unlock insights to help them act decisively on critical issues.

Examples of connected HHS abound, but one in particular is the Mississippi Adolescent Center. It’s a residential facility dedicated to helping teens with intellectual and developmental challenges gain the academic, life, and socialization skills they need to lead productive, independent lives in their communities.

Toward this end, the staff was using technology in the form of various applications and templates to help them meet their clients’ needs, but the mix resulted in a disjointed, suboptimal approach to overall client management. After implementing CARETILES a mobile and cloud-based application from CoCENTRIX, the staff gained a closed-loop clinical approach to addressing clients’ needs across the full service life cycle, including assessment, care planning, service delivery, progress monitoring, and consumer/family engagement. They saved lots of time while ensuring better client outcomes. Learn about Mississippi Adolescent Center’s CARETILES solution by watching their video here.

For more information on connected HHS, I invite you to take part in a highly informative webinar “Consumer Engagement in Health & Human Services - Why Closing the Loop is Essential To Achieving the Triple Aim”, presented by Donna Horton, Director of Client Services, Mississippi Adolescent Center, and James Dunaway, CIO, Mississippi Department of Mental Health, on Monday, May 12th at 1:00 EDT.


Have a comment or opinion on this post or a question for the author? Send us an email or let us know on Facebook or via Twitter.

Dave Meyers
Microsoft Director of Business Development, HHS

Microsoft in Health Blog

About the Author

Dave Meyers | Microsoft Director of Business Development, HHS

Dave Meyers is the Director of Business Development for Health and Human Services in the Health and Life Sciences group at Microsoft. Dave began his career at Microsoft in 1997 and is focused on the technical strategy, design and implementation of the... Read more