Voices from Accenture Public Service

In my first blog post about human services as a platform (HSaaP), I covered the importance of open innovation and collaboration. In this blog, I look at another HSaaP dimension — service convergence.

Most public service leaders we speak to are aiming to make their citizen (or business) services more customer-centric and better aligned to life events and circumstances. To do this, government agencies need to re-shape themselves as integrated service providers. Why should people have to work out which department does what, or be pushed from one to the other and back again?

Beyond customer satisfaction, agencies have a lot to gain from greater integration. Convergence between public health, employment, and social services agencies, for example, could drive pre-emptive interventions that simultaneously tackle the social determinants of negative outcomes across the health, work and other life spheres. It could also reduce the cost and complexity of multifaceted support.

The importance of service convergence

The figures show how necessary this is. A study into the impact of childhood disadvantage in later life by the scientific journal Nature found that 22 per cent of the study sample accounted for 57 per cent of hospital nights, 66 per cent of welfare benefits, 78 per cent of prescriptions, and 81 per cent of criminal convictions. Giving this small fraction of the population better, more integrated public services would both allow them to live better lives and take pressure off public services.

The Nordic countries are leading the way. In Finland, the Apotti program was launched to create a new data-driven service model, with health and social service organisations coordinating closely. An estimated 10 per cent of the Finnish patient population are the recipients of up to 80 per cent of healthcare and social welfare costs, and the Apotti program is expected to increase the quality and outcomes of services for many of these patients and provides a unified platform for action for providers. It’s also projected to bring in annual savings of over €100 million, meaning that the total cost of the project over a decade will be paid off within seven years.

We believe that the HSaaP model will help drive this service convergence and we’ve defined four key targets and priorities that help you move forward.

Key targets and priorities of HSaaP in driving service convergence

1.     Create circumstance-driven service models. Data integration should focus on a personalised, proactive model, with a streamlined service catalogue and services re-designed around specific customer segments, their life events and desired outcomes. This shift needs to be supported by a 360-degree profile for each user, sourcing that data from across the public and private ecosystem, with the user’s consent.

2.     Explore new technologies to build more proactive and coordinated services. Innovative technologies, particularly advanced analytics and artificial intelligence, will be key to exploiting more unified data. This can be used to drive more preventative, cross-agency interventions from a common platform, and enabled by APIs and a micro-services architecture, where those services could be designed and provided by a multitude of actors.

3.     Aim for multi-speed IT. Adopting a multi-speed IT and agile approach will support realistic strategies, manage business and service continuity and allow progressive migration of legacy systems from multiple agencies and applications to more cloud-based platforms, enabled by an integrated data-store.

4.     Develop a future service blueprint. Increasing service convergence demands an  integrated data strategy and a future service model, where all agencies have a clear picture of the ultimate goals, which are to empower their customers to move to self-sufficiency and improve their life outcomes.

Can human services as a platform approach improve your agency’s ability to deliver services and improve outcomes? To find out more, visit us at www.accenture.com/empowerment to read more of our perspectives. And stay tuned for my next blog, where I look into digital inclusion.

See this post on LinkedIn: Driving the convergence of health and social services through the platform revolution.

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