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GCN : October 2015
GCN OCTOBER 2015 • GCN.COM 37 ment. “They can create a rule that is much like an audit checklist, or they can say, ‘I want to look at this agency or vendor.’ Over time, they can be much more responsive to changes in their environment.” The Pennsylvania team also tackled its data networking backbone, espe- cially the task of building common interfaces for different source systems. “We were receiving files from mul- tiple different sources, including SAP, PeopleSoft, mainframe systems and homegrown systems,” Narayanan said. Eventually the department standard- ized on XML, a move that eliminated having to “deal with 30 different inter- faces for moving data among 60 differ- ent offices and agencies.” The whole transformation has given financial managers a clearer overview of transactions. “Visibility across our different teams — controller, audit cash management and treasury teams — has improved a lot,” Narayanan said. “We can see at any point in time our exact cash flow, cash availability and pay- ment data. Everything is visible across the department.” — Paul McCloskey Connecticut proved that state exchanges could work from the get-go. Now it’s taken enrollment mobile. EDITOR’S CHOICE AWARD BUILDING A TEMPLATE FOR SUCCESSFUL HEALTH EXCHANGES While the troubled debut of HealthCare. gov got most of the attention in 2013, many state-level health insurance exchanges got off to a rocky start as well. Access Health CT, however, was an exception. Connecticut’s exhange went live that September — ahead of the Affordable Care Act’s deadline and 5 percent below budget. And while millions of uninsured Americans struggled with exchanges that were slow, error-ridden or simply down, Connecticut residents enrolled by the tens of thousands — ultimately reducing the state’s uninsured rate by 50 percent. In the two years since, Access Health CT has continued to build on that initial success — streamlining the process for consumers and steadily adding new functionality. The goal was not simply to maintain a functional government- run exchange, but to deliver a customer experience that exceeds the citizen expectations shaped by private-sector apps and online services. Access Health CT embraced mobile early, developing a robust API and an extensible mobile platform that integrates closely with its back-end systems. Connecticut consumers can not only access plan details from their mobile devices, but also screen themselves for benefit eligibility and even upload the documents needed to verify eligibility. And when the third open enrollment period commences on Nov. 1 , Connecticut residents will be able to act on that research and actually enroll for insurance coverage through the Access Health CT mobile app. User tests suggest that “mobile enroll” can reduce the average application time to as little as 10 minutes. Access Health CT is not the only successful state exhange, of course, and the federal government’s HealthCare.gov has made great strides since its troubled debut. What truly sets the Connecticut effort apart — and what earned it the Editor’s Choice Award — was the way the exchange was built with reuse and revision in mind. The mobile platform in particular was developed from the ground up as a SaaS offering, readily reconfigurable to be deployed for other state-based exchanges or even private-sector insurance sites. It can be configured to provide a mobile platform and digital services to other state-based exchanges, private exchanges, state health and human services organizations and insurance carriers. Such shareability doesn’t mean much if the underlying system can’t deliver, but Access Health CT has addressed back-end needs as well as citizen expectations. The security and privacy controls, data standards and flexible reporting functions all help to ensure the system can help Connecticut deliver on this critical mission. And other governments can do more than simply watch and learn. — Troy K. Schneider 1015gcn_020-038.indd 37 10/5/15 1:40 PM
January and February 2016