Designing for Connection: 5 Key Principles for IES Solutions That Put People First

What's a people-first solution?

Getting help is harder than it needs to be. At Alluma, we want to make it easier and more effective.

One-x-Connection, our modern enrollment and eligibility system, was built around the concept that a people-first solution should match the way people really live and help them navigate through the complexities of the systems and programs they need.

We believe a people-first solution for eligibility and enrollment systems should address 5 key principles.

1. Help More People Access and Retain Benefits

Problem: The process of applying for benefits is fragmented, time-intensive, and too often, paper-based. People manually fill out multiple applications from several locations, and the process can mean delayed benefits or missed opportunities.

Principle: People should be able to easily apply for multiple programs at the same time wherever possible, providing their data and documentation only once.

Technical Insight: OxC utilizes a user interface based on human-centered design principles, employing industry best practices and directly informed by input from front-line application assisters. The system can support multi-benefit eligibility determination and enrollment, collecting data and documentation one time and running that information against a state-of-the art business rules engine (BRE) to generate preliminary eligibility determinations.

OxC also keeps track of program deadlines and renewal requirements and provides proactive notifications and reminders to people when it’s time to renew or redetermine eligibility for the programs they are enrolled in. The system provides a mechanism for applicants to reuse/confirm data and documentation already in the system.

2. Protect Applicant Information

Problem: Applicants and program administrators are rightly concerned over privacy and security. Massive amounts of confidential information about individuals is amassed over the internet.

Principle: People should have control over their own data, and should have the right to decide what, when, how, and how much of their personal information to share.

Technical Insight: OxC provides a secure environment for minimal necessary data collection that prioritizes privacy and instills confidence and trust among applicants, assisters, and program administrators. Data is distributed and encrypted, removing the requirement for complex web services and interfaces and providing a mechanism for individuals to have better insight into and control over who has access to their data, using a simple web interface or mobile application.

3. Give Assisters the Tools They Need to Support Their Clients

Problem: Despite a trend toward online applications for public programs, many application assisters continue to conduct a portion of the process offline. They may need to pre-screen applicants verbally to determine which online application to do, and they may have to follow up manually.

Principle: Online eligibility and enrollment systems should support the end-to-end process assisters must go through to support their clients.

Technical Insight: OxC is designed to meet the needs of its users, based on input from front-line assisters in a variety of settings, utilizing a modern and accessible user interface, dynamic questioning, and workload management tools. The system provides a selection of pre-screening tools that allow assisters and administrators to determine the level of precision they wish to achieve in the pre-screen process before beginning an application, as well as dashboards and tracking and reporting tools.

4. Provide Flexibility and Control for Administrators

Problem: Administrators may not be able to respond to changes in current programs and to easily and quickly implement new ones because their system is clunky or difficult. Administrators may have little ability to configure a system to meet their needs and to utilize—and pay for—only the system components that directly meet their program needs.

Principle: Administrators should be able to select the components they need. They should have the ability to configure local program rules and questions.

Technical Insight: OxC was developed using a modular approach that makes the tool easier and more cost-effective to install and maintain. The system supports interoperability with a range of other systems and a variety of approaches to electronic data exchange so that administrators can select what will work in their existing environment. OxC is also configurable, allowing local program administrators to create and manage their own program rules and application questions.

5. Support Rigorous Data Analytics and Reporting

Problem: Analytics and reporting features are often not readily accessible to most non-technical administrators. A lack of tools to manage and analyze workload and performance can limit assisters’ ability to help their clients.

Principle: Program administrators should be able to easily access their own data and generate reports that meet their specific needs. They should not have to rely on the vendor or utilize their own data architect to generate the analysis they need to support performance improvements.

Technical Insight: The integration of both structured and unstructured databases supports OxC's ability to run native analytics and allows for near real-time access to data. The role-based access allows program administrators to design and generate their own custom reports.

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