By Bryan Sivak, Chief Technology Officer, Department of Health and Human Services
Identifying and leveraging underutilized departmental assets to encourage the transformation of public health, healthcare, and the delivery of human services, and, by doing so, building the foundation for the next generation of government and improving health care for all Americans – this is what my team and I working to do.
The HHSentrepreneurs Program is a key component of this strategy. Launched last year, HHSentrepreneurs connects outside experts and entrepreneurs from outside federal government with internal innovators to work on high-risk, high-impact projects that address some of the biggest challenges in health, health care and human services.
In the first year of the program, I have seen some considerable gains at the department ranging from significant changes in culture to some serious results and progress on our first four projects.
For example, Mindy Hangsleben is an expert in Lean Methodology who came to federal government to improve the process for developing metrics of the quality of providers which incorporate information available in electronic health records. What Mindy has been doing for the past eight months is systematically changing the way two organizations, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) develop their measures; a process that involves multiple internal and external stakeholders and can take up to three years to develop. One of Mindy’s first focuses was to apply the lean methodology to a process where there was a 100 percent defect rate. Literally every product that was created had to get through and be re-worked. We were excited by this – there was nowhere to go but up!
What Mindy has done is amazing. She has taken two government agencies with an incredibly bureaucratic process, and streamlined it by empowering federal employees to use Lean methodologies. In addition to changing the process of developing quality measures, she has evangelized the value of Lean techniques to federal employees. So now, not only are CMS and ONC staff requesting her assistance to improve many other processes and procedures, but Mindy is also making Lean experts out of a group of employees as well.
Going into this next round, we expect even bigger and better results. Based on our first cohort, we have increased the scope of the projects and are now ready for external experts to apply. We are looking for highly talented professionals from non-federal backgrounds such as business, industry, and academia who seek to bring successful innovation experiences, models, and business practices to the department.
In round two there are a total of six projects:
You can apply to participate in the HHSentrepreneurs Program here. If you want to know more about the experience the current external entrepreneurs are having, check out the HHSentrepeneurs blog and if you are on Twitter, be sure to use the #HHSentrepreneurs hashtag.
Bryan Sivak joined HHS as the Chief Technology Officer in July 2011. In this role, he is responsible for helping HHS leadership harness the power of data, technology, and innovation to improve the health and welfare of the nation.