4 ways ECM and GIS can change the world: The new health and human services agency

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At the recent Esri User Conference, a packed room of GIS professionals attended their biggest-ever special interest group gathering. This marked a great moment for the use of GIS in the realm of health and human services (HHS). The conference itself was full of ways to use GIS to identify human services needs, track public health and even improve service delivery through the analysis tools in the Esri platform.

This last point – assessing and hopefully improving HHS service delivery – is a critical need for state and local governments. Health and human services expenditures are a significant portion of government budgets, and spending at that level invites scrutiny. Using GIS applications to track programs allows a visual analysis – layering need with usage, coloring areas of greater need and allowing easy comparison with the consumption of program services.

Put data to work
For all the power of these applications, there is a critical gap – fast data sets. Data sets are the essential building block of GIS applications, but what happens if there isn’t a data set, or there isn’t enough staff to create a data set? Suppose there is a fast-moving community health issue. How soon could you add the data set to the great tools that GIS offers?

What if data could be drawn from a system at the heart of your human services agency and collected every day as the agency completes work?

That’s where enterprise content management (ECM) can help. Many HHS agencies are using ECM to improve their internal efficiencies while securing documents and doing more work with the same staff. They have eliminated paper files, automated tasks and managed client cases using ECM.

And now, they can easily connect their Esri GIS applications to ECM.

Consider the data dilemma mentioned above. HHS agencies collect documents every day, like benefits applications and public health reports. Using ECM, agencies can process them immediately and take action. Then, they can geocode the documents using ArcGIS Online and add this new “data set” to their GIS applications.

This immediate geocoding replaces more time-consuming data entry and can be done on-the-fly, by any staff person and from within the ECM solution. This helps to expand the use of insightful GIS applications and it adds an essential data layer to your GIS solution.

The value of the ECM-Esri GIS integration: Information access and speed
Consider the H1N1 vaccination program. When local counties geared up for this program, they created the necessary release form for each recipient. Those forms could have been immediately geocoded and displayed on a map to document the residents who had received the vaccine.

From there, agencies could have located vaccination units in certain neighborhoods with less vaccine recipients to help ensure public health. And, it all starts with the ability to transform documents into a data set with a right-click.

With the a robust ECM solution, it’s that easy.

Here’s another scenario: What if you wanted to compare the addresses of benefits applicants with the location of your agency’s offices to determine the convenience of these locations? If you could immediately geocode applications using the applicants’ home addresses, you could quickly and easily determine whether the agency locations are near to the applicants. Using a map view easily allows you to evaluate the convenience of your program delivery – and it does this instantly without using staff to enter the data from each and every application.

Furthermore, connecting your GIS applications with the right ECM solution has four great benefits for your HHS agency:

1. Better decision-making

You can add the documents you must collect for program eligibility and delivery to the data sets you are using to evaluate your programs.

2. Capturing the data faster

Using the ECM-embedded ability to geocode means capturing data faster by using documents as an ad-hoc data set.

3. Making sense of the data

Every data layer added to your GIS solutions allows you to enrich the context of your program evaluation. And, with the ability to use documents as a data set, adding more data is even easier.

4. Changing the system

Before transactions become a data set, HHS agencies are collecting documents. Being able to geocode these documents on-the-fly means that you can improve or calibrate program delivery quickly, without needing to add data entry staff.

Effective and efficient HHS service delivery requires data and tools like the Esri GIS platform to bring meaning and context to multiple data points. With the right ECM-Esri integration and embedded mapping capability, you can quickly and affordably get the complete picture offered by GIS and ECM.

And, your HHS agency can change the world.

Terri Jones

Terri Jones

Wondering what goes into a document management or ECM software deployment in government? Terri Jones, Hyland's government marketing portfolio manager, has your answer. In her 10 plus years in both state and local government, she's managed IT departments, implemented ECM strategies and written legislation and program policies. If that isn't enough to prove her IT expertise in government, she has also designed and implemented data systems and websites to manage compliance and funding in excess of $90 million annually. Have a question for her? Contact her at terri.jones@onbase.com.

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