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Digital Strategy at HHS

Incorporating principles of the Digital Government Strategy radically improves how we conduct business and communicate with the public. Putting them into practice to create a modern digital strategy, prepares us to meet whatever new advances the future brings.

What is the Digital Government Strategy?

The Digital Government Strategy challenges us to take a hard look at all of our tools and figure out how they can work together to better serve us and you. Improvements to our websites and tools allow you to access government information anywhere, anytime, using any device. This makes the government’s wealth of knowledge easier to find and use. Additional coordination and consistency across agencies will foster innovation that currently is impossible.

What Should I Know?

From now on, all new federal digital projects must comply with the Digital Government Strategy. All projects must be:

  1. Information-Centric
    Instead of locking information in a PDF or spreadsheet, we should share this content as individual pieces of data in the way that is most useful for you. By doing this, we encourage others to take and reuse it. This allows for innovations beyond the capabilities of a single agency. We accomplish this through the agency’s open data resource, healthdata.gov and through our API-enabled databases featured in the developers’ center.
  2. On a Shared Platform
    Currently, federal agencies have separate IT contracts and systems in place. However, multiple agencies may be using the same development platform—under different contracts and with unlinked systems. By sharing IT systems within other agencies, HHS can help the government work more efficiently, reduce costs, streamline Web development, and ensure consistency in how we create and deliver information. Use the link to browse a list of our shared services.
  3. Customer-Centric
    HHS is comprised of 29 offices and divisions, including the Center for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health, and many others. But that doesn’t mean that our information should be divided by these groups. Visiting one site for information on a topic, such as the flu, is more helpful than visiting a department’s website, a division’s website, or an office’s website to find the information you need. Creating one-stop websites with the user in mind improves how we present information. By designing and developing websites with the customer in mind, we better serve the American public.
  4. Secure and Private
    As we open our data and information to the public, it is important that we do so in a way that is safe and secure. This is very important as we move onto mobile devices and platforms. Developing centralized security, privacy, and data protection measures across our digital landscape will keep your information and ours safe. We will ensure consistent, sustainable policies and procedures by implementing these standard guidelines across all HHS digital platforms.

How Can I Get Involved?

Implementing the Digital Government Strategy is not the responsibility of one office or the IT department. The American public and government employees can also support this new approach to digital services.

What Everyone Can Do:

What Federal Employees and Contractors Can Do:

By participating in discussion and collaboration, you are helping to improve our digital services. This helps foster the innovations and advancements that will move these principles into practice.

What is the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA)?

Information technology (IT) is critical to our ability to enhance the health and well-being of Americans by providing for effective health and human services and by fostering sound, sustained advances in the sciences underlying medicine, public health, and social services. HHS spends approximately $5 billion annually on IT. Our agency has the second largest number of IT investments and the largest dollar investment in major IT systems in the Federal Government.

Given the importance of IT, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has recently established a more cohesive framework for planning, acquiring, and overseeing its IT portfolio and begun to implement new approaches to assure we are delivering results in the most cost effective way possible for the American taxpayer.

OMB provided specific guidance on the implementation of Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) across the federal sector to ensure that government-wide implementation is consistent with existing laws, policies, and management practices by issuing the Management and Oversight of Federal IT Memoranda (M-15-14).

FITARA was enacted on December 19, 2014. FITARA outlines specific requirements related to:

  1. Agency Chief Information Officer (CIO) Authority Enhancements
  2. Enhanced Transparency and Improved Risk Management in IT Investments
    HHS’s CIO evaluation is based on the risk evaluation framework provided by OMB’s Capital Planning and Investment Control (CPIC) Guidance. As part of HHS’s efforts to strengthen implementation of FITARA principles, in August 2017, HHS supplemented its existing CIO evaluation framework to consider the confidentiality and availability of department IT assets as they support the public health, confidence and safety of the American people. Application of this additional evaluative factor, and subsequent scoring adjustments, reflects HHS’s increased awareness and acknowledgement of risk inherent to investments. As demonstrated by data related to investments’ cost, schedule and operations, HHS remains vigilant about establishing internal controls to manage and mitigate risk across its IT portfolio
  3. Portfolio Review
  4. Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative
  5. Expansion of Training and Use of IT Cadres
  6. Maximizing the Benefit of the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative
  7. Government-wide Software Purchasing Program

To implement the requirements of FITARA, combined with the need to update policy and guidance related to other modern IT practices, OMB has published guidance which reflects input from a diverse group of stakeholders, including representatives from the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO), Chief Acquisition Officer (CAO), Assistant Secretary for Management (ASAM), Chief Operating Officer (COO), and CIO communities.


Content created by Digital Communications Division (DCD)
Content last reviewed on March 19, 2020