As the nation’s population continues to surge, healthcare and social services agencies are experiencing a continued growth in the number of citizens accessing their IT solutions.
Our growing population – Boomers to Millennials
In 2023, Baby Boomers and Millennials combine to make up the largest portion of the nation’s population. Boomers are reaching a stage of life where access to Medicare and Social Security is a more frequent occurrence. At the same time, Millennials at the younger end of that cohort’s age range are attaining the age of independence and are taking on the responsibilities associated with managing their own healthcare and retirement needs.
This confluence of circumstances results in an unprecedented demand on the agencies that support access to healthcare services and social services.
This combination of growing numbers plus customer demand for a high-quality user experience creates pressure on agencies to deliver. Meanwhile, recent events such as the world-wide COVID-19 pandemic and outbreaks of infectious diseases such as monekypox put additional demands on federal healthcare and social programs.
Impact to the CFO
In recent years, the focus on healthcare data has surged as millions of Americans turned to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration websites for information on COVID, and on vaccines as they were developed and then released.
Federal agencies need to modernize their financial systems to meet these demands. The public today expects the same kind of ease of access, powerful mobile applications and real-time data that they get from their banks and online merchants. Agencies must provide timely, accurate information on payments and collections for individuals with these high expectations.
Agency chief financial officers look to industry partners with the experience, foresight and understanding of their financial management IT environment to tackle these issues and allow their agencies to focus on mission-critical activities.
However, before engaging with a partner, CFOs can evaluate their operations and prepare for modernization efforts, such as enabling data-driven decisions and transition to a cloud services environment, with emphasis on:
- Mission performance focused information: A holistic analysis of the data that agencies should collect, create and share across the organization and trading partner ecosystem, to enable and maximize mission execution, is critical. CFO offices must transition from implementing and operating systems to enabling improved decision-making for the mission.
- Accessibility: Service providers understand that accessibility is a concept that extends beyond previous solutions to meet Section 508 compliance. Accessibility strategies should prioritize making services easily accessible to all our constituents. This includes addressing barriers created by language, economics, physical wellbeing, and education. The government requires partners to incorporate accessibility into every aspect of their software and platform design and development. It is built into products as a foundational component to meet the very broad set of needs of our communities.
- Automation: Agencies are incorporating automation in their FM systems in ways that have not been done before. As FM operations adopt RPA at unprecedented rates, CFOs are achieving an increased speed in processing and increase in quality. At the same time, RPA frees up FM staff to focus on higher value attributes of their task that further benefit the agencies’ missions.
- Modernization & Change Management: Unlike the upgrades of the past, the next generation of FM solutions will be cloud-centric and transformational. Robust change management – including a strong communications plan for the agency – will be crucial in a successful migration to the next generation of FM solutions.
Engaging trusted advisors
By leveraging partners in the vendor community that are knowledgeable and experienced in large scale financial programs that focus on providing services to the American public (such as the iFAMS solution at the Veteran’s Administration), healthcare and social services CFOs can deliver financial information to the public with modern, information-rich, accessible and scalable solutions.
CFOs can reinforce their agency’s readiness for these evolutions in the FM space by employing the support of trusted advisors who know their business and their IT environments. That partnership is fundamental to mapping a future course. Choose partners that understand your business needs, are experienced in developing accessible solutions and understand when and how to implement RPA.
Finally, the path to the next generation is evolving constantly. CFO’s can seek industry partners who are leading the way in defining what that future state looks like. By selecting partners with a deep understanding of the goals and vision of OMB and Treasury combined with decades of experience evolving large-scale agency financial systems environments lays the groundwork for successful modernization and sustainment for today’s CFO.