Microsoft Announces Alliance to Accelerate Consumer-Centered Delivery of Health and Human Services

WASHINGTON, D.C. — June 12, 2008 — Today at the Government Health IT Conference & Exhibition an alliance of partners unveiled its work on a comprehensive, multivendor connected health and human services (HHS) technology architecture that is connecting disparate state and jurisdictional human services systems to give providers one comprehensive view into citizen/customer needs. The group supports today’s release of version 2.0 of the Microsoft Connected Health and Human Services Framework, which presents a flexible, individual and family-centered approach for addressing the challenges that face HHS agencies, departments and programs as they respond to complex social needs and problems and deliver services to individuals and families in need.

Launch partners include ACS, Atlanta; Avanade, Seattle; CGI, Fairfax, Va.; EDS, Plano, Texas; ESRI, Redlands, Calif.; Harmony Information Systems, Reston, Va.; IDV Solutions, Lansing, Mich.; MidTech Partners, Centennial, Colo.; Netsmart Technologies, Great River, N.Y.; Nets To Ladders, Austin, Texas; NWN Corp., Waltham, Mass.; Plexis Healthcare Systems, Ashland, Ore.; Saber Government Solutions (an EDS company), Portland, Ore.; Unisys, Blue Bell, Pa.; and VisionWare Ltd., Glasgow, Scotland.

“The extensive engagement of current and future partners in this framework will allow all of our state customers to provide a holistic approach to serving the citizens with whom they are engaging,” said Bill O’Leary, executive director of HHS for the U.S. Public Sector at Microsoft Corp. “This group of partners is coming together to put a stake in the ground around connecting information technology and cross-agency processes so citizens are the beneficiaries of top-notch service.”

Consumer-Centered HHS

Historically, HHS integration efforts have run into roadblocks, often requiring dramatic restructuring of organizations, ripping out and replacing large investments in technology systems, and transferring data ownership from host agencies. Many HHS agencies, departments and programs are disconnected, both in terms of information technology and internal processes. Multiple legacy systems that support services to the same individuals or families have often been built without reference to each other. Individuals and families, consequently, are forced to traverse programs from different entry points, providing largely the same personal information to receive components of services that address only some of their needs.

In response to these challenges, Microsoft, in working with industry partners and numerous HHS state and federal agencies, noticed the need for a connected HHS framework that links people, information, systems and devices to help expand access to care, improve quality of services and outcomes, and help protect the safety and well-being of clients and the community.

Enabling consumer-centered scenarios across government empowers caseworkers to have a complete case history on the individuals they are servicing. The Connected HHS Framework provides support for a systematic and leveraged road map approach to program enhancements so caseworkers can more rapidly gain insight to the multiprogram interactions that are common to the clients they serve — not only in HHS, but across other agencies as well including justice, public safety and education, for example. The framework fosters an industry-standards-based shared-services model that facilitates efficient and effective reuse of business and technical functions common across the numerous stand-alone programs representative of state HHS agencies.

Through the new alliance, the group will combine industry-leading applications, information infrastructure and delivery expertise to accelerate the bridging of legacy program silos to better serve state and municipality constituencies across the country. The framework does this by detailing the core infrastructure requirements based on the Windows family of servers, tools and applications for integration, security, collaboration, reporting and analysis.

“While our Connected HHS Alliance partners are committed to the consumer-centered vision and supporting framework of delivering best-in-class shared services and commercial off-the-shelf-based solutions, they are also committed to working with each other as they produce new and consume existing key services required for integrated care,” said Kevin Dolan, director of HHS for the U.S. Public Sector Alliance at Microsoft. “We welcome additional partners to join the Connected HHS Alliance to further accelerate this initiative.”

Launch members and contribution samplings include the following:

  • ACS Government Healthcare Solutions has been meeting the challenges of government healthcare programs for more than 30 years. ACS’ revolutionary Informed Health suite of health information exchange and e-health solutions aligns with the Connected HHS Framework and uses Microsoft technology and products. The Patient Data Hub accumulates healthcare data about an individual or population. Real-time algorithms analyze the shared data set and provide evidence-based clinical decision support to each stakeholder — physician, pharmacist, patient, employer and payer — improving healthcare and saving money. ACS has experience implementing the Connected HHS Framework in Missouri.

  • Avanade. As an example of a security-enhanced shared service conforming to the Connected HHS Framework, Avanade has co-developed an end-user provisioning and single sign-on system. The security mechanism grants access to various systems, and authorizes users to access applications via role-based security using a variety of integrated approaches, including Active Directory Federated Services (ADFS). This framework is being expanded to allow security-enhanced and effective use of applications hosted within an environment by consolidating the provisioning and allowing for management of the user life cycle. This foundation, which meets HIPAA, ADA, and other federal privacy and accessibility guidelines, also provides audit capabilities and enables a user to sign on once, which consequently provides user access to other approved systems without additional sign-on screens. This security solution was first implemented in conjunction with EDS in Kentucky with additional deployments in Alabama and Florida. 

  • CGI uses proven approaches and experience gained working with more than 40 state and local HHS agencies to deliver solutions for child welfare, integrated eligibility and enterprise case management. govMosiac, a comprehensive, government-specific reference model, incorporates domain expertise tailored to HHS agencies. CGI’s infoSACWIS solution uses Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services to deliver federal compliance and performance metrics for child welfare in a user-friendly and timely manner. With CGI Mobile Worker, case workers can capture information in the field, increasing data quality. CGI also offers CAS version 5.0, a .NET-based fraud detection and case management solution.

  • EDS’ interChange Claims & Administrative Platform solution for Medicaid Management Information Systems embraces the core technologies and service-oriented architecture (SOA) that align with Connected HHS Framework and Medicaid Information Technology Architecture 2.0 guidelines. The EDS “360-Degree Healthcare Continuum” places the citizen at the center of program services to enable more complete, effective and efficient service delivery for HHS. Within the EDS model, governments connect previously siloed services and solutions to optimize the distribution of knowledge, empower consumers, improve performance and streamline business processes.

  • ESRI, a global provider of geographic information systems (GIS) software, provides enterprise-level geographic data management, spatial analytics and location-aware information presentation solutions to thousands of HHS organizations. ESRI solutions help agencies improve the accuracy and timeliness of geographically relevant information used to inform the public, make policy decisions, evaluate services and initiate emergency response. ESRI deployments include West Nile virus surveillance in Pennsylvania, Advanced Emergency GIS (AEGIS) at Loma Linda University Medical Center, a vaccination stockpile in Nebraska, and a public health data and emergency management information system in South Carolina.

  • Harmony Information Systems is a provider of Web-based information management solutions for government and private human services organizations. Harmony has long been aligned with Microsoft’s Connected HHS Framework and vision. Harmony’s enterprise approach automates and simplifies case management and financial management processes and creates a centralized, comprehensive client view, resulting in improved client outcomes, more efficient service delivery, and compliance with key funding guidelines and requirements. Harmony solutions have been implemented in Alabama, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

  • IDV Solutions is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner that enables organizations to make their data more actionable using best-in-class data visualization and business intelligence technologies. The IDV Visual Fusion Suite helps organizations engage with enterprise data in an interactive, easy-to-use, Web-based environment that makes information more accessible, understandable and contextual. Visual Fusion has been deployed in numerous enterprise and government organizations including Thomson Reuters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and the states of Alabama and Michigan. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence uses IDV software to report worldwide avian flu alerts and watches.

  • MidTech Partners is a technology integration services company with a special focus on business process integration, portal development and business intelligence. As a leading partner experienced with Microsoft BizTalk Server, MidTech provides business process integration solutions for the Connected HHS Framework. Examples include common client-indexing teaming (with fellow Connected HHS Alliance partner VisionWare) in Alaska and numerous health information exchange projects that require deep integration with disconnected systems.

  • Netsmart Technologies. Netsmart provides enterprise software solutions to more than 18,000 health and human services organizations, including 300,000 care providers and 38 state systems. Netsmart customers include public health departments, mental health and substance abuse clinics, psychiatric hospitals, private and group mental health practices, vital records offices and managed-care organizations. Netsmart’s Connected Care initiative allows behavioral and public healthcare providers to share clinical data electronically and provide that clinical data to the consumer through a Web-based portal on Microsoft .NET, helping them use technology as the catalyst to provide their consumers and patients with high-quality, consumer-directed care. Netsmart is planning to use the framework model to enhance its patient portal via an interface to HealthVault, Microsoft’s consumer health records platform. In addition, a sampling of key Netsmart Vital Records management deployments on Microsoft SQL Server include New Jersey, Maryland, South Dakota, Nevada, Illinois, Florida, the Virgin Islands, Nebraska, Ohio and Kentucky.

  • Nets to Ladders’ customer relationship management (CRM)-based hosted platform, Benefits Enrollment Network, streamlines access to public benefit programs, including food stamps and Medicaid, by empowering community-based organizations to screen and submit applications from their constituents to state agencies much more quickly and accurately. The United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta found that integrating benefits into the screening tool increases collaboration among community organizations and state agencies, which also benefit from the tracking and accountability. Nets to Ladders’ solution embraces the core infrastructure of the Connected HHS Framework and is based on Microsoft’s connection-oriented transport service platform for Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

  • NWN Corp. helps government HHS organizations connect the dots. Every state and local government faces the same issue: how to weld a fragmented, often aging tangle of human service systems and processes into a simple, coherent set of services that meet constituents’ needs. Microsoft Connected HHS Framework makes this aspiration both achievable and affordable for governments everywhere. NWN relies on its extensive experience in HHS to help clients create a realistic road map for achieving connected HHS. NWN solutions are deployed in, Maryland, Alabama and Washington, D.C.

  • Plexis Healthcare Systems’ solution family for benefits administration provides a highly configurable, rules-based, widely scalable and modular approach. The solution family, which leverages an SOA supported by Microsoft SQL Server and .NET, is a true connection-oriented transport service product within the Medicaid Information Technology Architecture (MITA) 2.0 guidelines. Plexis Healthcare Systems provides software solutions to more than 80 commercial healthcare plans, and supports government agencies such as the Financial Service Center at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Austin, Texas.

  • Saber Government Solutions, an EDS company, has a rich history of collaborating with Microsoft to deliver real solutions for customers. Saber believes that Microsoft’s technology, products and methods provide a solid foundation to create and extend innovative solutions to government customers. As a premier provider of government technology solutions, Saber’s leadership in delivering health and human services solutions has been enhanced by the company’s relationship with Microsoft. Specifically, Saber is a leader in providing Child Care and Child Support Enforcement solutions, and is using the Connected HHS Framework principles in developing current and future product offerings within these verticals. As a result, a number of states are leveraging Saber and Microsoft technology to build mission-critical solutions.

  • Unisys has a mission to help state governments create a connected environment across all their HHS organizations to achieve high-quality healthcare and reduced administrative costs. This mission aligns closely with the Connected HHS Alliance. Unisys Health PAS, a Medicaid-management information system designed for Medicaid and state-run healthcare programs, provides a feature-rich, flexible, scalable enterprise solution with best-of-breed commercial off-the-shelf software integrated via a loosely coupled SOA. Internal and external use of Web services supports Microsoft’s connected HHS environment vision. Health PAS is deployed in West Virginia and is being implemented in Idaho and Maine.

  • VisionWare Ltd. As one of the shared service offerings within the Connected Health and Human Services Framework VisionWare’s MultiVue CDI/MDM Hub improves operational efficiencies and reduces costs by providing accurate, up-to-date client/patient information across agencies and organizations through enabling unique identification to help build the 360-degree views of the citizen being served. MultiVue has been implemented in Alaska, Wyoming and Alabama.

The Connected HHS Framework is informed by existing enterprise architecture concepts and principles documented by the Enterprise Architecture Committee of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers and the Federal Enterprise Architecture project sponsored by the federal Office of Management and Budget. Both initiatives define complementary business and technical dimensions. They also focus on comprehensive specifications of enterprise business processes and performance objectives, and on enterprise technical guidance that emphasizes standards, reuse of common components and an overall architecture that can be implemented in whole or in parts.

More information and access to Connected HHS Framework version 2.0 and the alliance is available at

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