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Posted on: April 4, 2019

Arapahoe County accepts national award for leading digital innovation in Human Services

Digital Edge 50 2019 Group

Arapahoe County received the Digital Edge 50 award for HSConnects, the County’s latest innovative business management software used in Human Services. The recognition was given by International Data Group, the world’s leading technology media, data and marketing services company, during the AGENDA19 conference, March 18 - 20. This prestigious honor was bestowed upon a select group of organizations that have executed digital transformation initiatives with significant, measurable business impact.

“I was honored to accept the Agenda19 Digital Edge 50 Award on behalf of Arapahoe County,” said Arapahoe County Commissioner, Nancy Sharpe. “Only one quarter of organizations that apply are awarded and recognized for their leadership and innovation in the area of technology. Our teams led by Human Services Director Cheryl Ternes and IT Director David Bessen, developed the system that enables faster and even better service to Human Services clients. The results have been so positive that Arapahoe County is sharing HSConnects with nine other counties across the state. I am extremely proud of the outstanding work of these teams.”

HSConnects is an imaging, electronic workflow and interoperability program that is designed to ingest documents and data, read state systems for case information/requirements and deliver prioritized documents and tasks to the correct worker at the correct time.

The technology allows families and individuals to bring in their important documents and have it scanned immediately, prioritized appropriately and guaranteed accuracy so that human error is significantly reduced. Since its launch in 2015, error rates dropped from 30 percent to nearly zero.

The documents saved in HSConnects can be instantly viewed by other benefit specialists who can then identify, process and grant additional assistance to families and individuals quickly and efficiently. These improvements are extremely valuable as many of the individuals and families that are served are in dire need of help to put food on the table, keep their power on, or in need of immediate medical care.

“Families and individuals who receive benefits, often times qualify for other public assistance and services and they may not even realize it,” said Human Services Director Cheryl Ternes. “It is the Human Services work to help identify the needs of individuals and families and ensure they are provided the services available to them. HSConnects helps us move from being a transactional business to a transformational agency and help those we serve get on a path to economic security. It is our mission to end the cycle of poverty and prevent abuse and neglect of children and vulnerable adults and this tool is essential to getting there.”

This efficiency has allowed Arapahoe County to become one of two large Colorado counties to comply with Federal and State timeliness mandates in 2016 and 2017. In 2018, the County was recognized by the National Association of Counties and was the only large county to receive consecutive C-Stat Distinguished Performance awards from the Colorado Department of Human Services for outstanding performance.

“Not only is HSConnects beneficial to our clients, it saves County taxpayers nearly $1.5 million annually through the reduction of temporary staffing and overtime,” said Information Technology Director, David Bessen. “The digitization of applications has reduced paper consumption by four million sheets and the County achieved these significant savings on an initial year investment of $170,000, a payback period of only six weeks. It’s great to see the value HSConnects has as we are making the technology available to other Colorado counties, working collaboratively to bring better service across the state.”

HSConnects is up and running in Eagle, El Paso, Pitkin, Pueblo and Broomfiled Counties. Later this year, Adams, Morgan, Fremont and Routt Counties will launch HSConnects.

While Arapahoe County currently uses HSConnects for Food Assistance, Health First Colorado, Colorado Works and Adult Financial program, future plans include expanding to Child Support Services, Child Care and Child and Adult Protection Services.

About the Digital Edge 50 Awards

The Digital Edge 50 Award is a recognized honor of digital innovation. The 5th annual program for 2019 recognized 50 organizations for digital initiatives that are transforming organizations and driving business success. Organizations with innovative, complex and scaled initiatives that have modernized operations, improved the customer experience and resulted in new product launches are those that typically make the list.

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