I work for a medium to large human services provider, and I am proud of the work that we do every day supporting thousands of people around the world. But are we innovators? Is “human services” innovative? Humans are, after all. It seems that those of us in the business of supplying services to those innovative humans ought to have a bit of that trait ourselves.
Too often, we don’t. Several possible reasons for this spring to mind: We’re busy following funding; we’re busy trying fill staff vacancies; we’re distracted and daunted by the scale of human need; we’re stuck in ruts of responding to regulatory requirements; and often we’re tired.
What does this have to do with technology? Everything. The technology and information of an industry or a company reflects the culture. Let’s strategize for a minute or two about how to inject some excitement, some genuine innovation into it. Here is one of my ideas, but I’m looking forward to hearing others.
Collaboration. I’d love to see us take charge of our own technology future and drive it to be what we want it to be. I’d love to see like-minded human services organizations come together and create a software company just for us. I know it seems radical, but why not? The collaborative model works in farming, it works in bringing electricity to rural communities, it works in health care . . .it could work here.
Few of us have the resources to do this on our own, so let’s come together. I can see “ownership groups” defining specs, developing, consulting, implementing, changing, and yes, innovating–this is the stuff that is exciting to me.
We know what we need:
web – based secure access
use of hand-held devices that are quick, secure, easy to deploy, and inexpensive
demographic information about the people we serve
clinical information about the people we serve
outcome information about the people we serve
billing information and billing transaction ability
and so on. If you’re reading this, you know the list as well as I do.
We can do this together, I know we can. I’m looking for partners, and I’m taking this on the road. I’m planning to talk about this wherever I can find a forum, and I’m looking forward to hearing what you think. Let’s close the innovation gap.