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, HHSentrepreneursconnects 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 3 years to develop. One of Mindy’s first focuses was to apply the lean methodology to a process where there was a 100% 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. If you want to be like Mindy, and our other external entrepreneurs, you should apply for the next cohort of the HHSentrepreneurs Program! 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:
- Application of Design Thinking to Grants: The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Office of Family Assistance (OFA) seeks to improve grantee program implementation to better meet the needs of the low income populations that OFA serves through the creation of a low cost, replicable methodology to better assess grantee client problems.
- Cloud-Based GIS Maps Displaying Aggregate Data on Medical Malpractice: The Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) seeks to build a public-facing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) map application that displays medical malpractice data to allow researchers and the general public to better view, analyze, and understand this information to support the development of novel tools and strategies improve patient safety and protection.
- Health Information Exchange Accelerators: The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) seeks to accelerate health information exchange (HIE) by developing new tools that can reduce HIE implementation effort and cost for a wide range of health care entities including those that are not eligible for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Electronic Health Records (EHR) incentive program.
- Modernizing the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System: The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) seeks to improve the existing National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES) to improve usability, scalability and data quality.
- Predictive Analytics: Merging Innovation and Business Operations: The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources (ASFR) seeks to leverage the field of predictive analytics to generate predictive risk models to proactively manage grants across HHS Operating and Staff Divisions.
- Publication Planning and Clearance Process Improvement Project: The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA) seeks to re-engineer its publications planning and clearance process to better meet the needs of a communications landscape dominated by digital and social media.
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. If you have questions about the application process or the six new projects, tweet us a question at @healthdata.gov.