Technology Record - Issue 32: Spring 2024

130 FEATURE Instead, organisations should look to use cloud-based systems and low-code/no-code platforms such as Microsoft Power Platform and Dynamics 365 because they’re continually updated, easily scalable and very secure.” The Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) in Idaho, USA, for example, has streamlined administrative processes and significantly improved case management by implementing a cloud-based child welfare system built on Dynamics 365 and Power Platform. Developed and implemented in collaboration with Deloitte, the new platform enables the DHW to make data-driven decisions and deliver services more effectively, while ensuring it complies with regulatory standards. “The solution is delivering outstanding results,” says Pitman. “It has reduced operational costs, given the DHW the flexibility to scale as demand grows and freed up capacity for case workers to focus on families.” Another key technology at the forefront of reducing the administrative burden on workers is artificial intelligence. “Research suggests people should spend 70 per cent of their time working directly with the client and 30 per cent on back-office support work, but most are doing the reverse,” says McKenzie-Jones. “Workers are being inundated with basic administrative tasks and held back by time-consuming paper-based processes and siloed legacy IT systems. Technologies such as AI and Microsoft Power Apps can automate data entry, reporting and more, which reduces errors in documents, accelerates the process of triaging cases, and frees up workers to focus on tasks that require human-to-human interaction. This means citizens get the right help much quicker than in the past.” Generative AI-powered solutions like Microsoft Copilot can help case workers quickly and accurately determine whether an individual is eligible for the service they have requested. “To make a decision, case workers must collect and analyse data from multiple disparate sources and Copilot can help them to quickly surface all the information they need from within hundreds or thousands of documents,” says Pitman. “We’re already helping one mid-sized US county government to do this.” Alternatively, generative AI-powered chatbots can provide self-service channels for citizens to determine their own eligibility. For example, citizens in one US state will soon be able to use a chatbot named Priya to get fast and reliable answers about the SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Access Program) food benefits programme. “Priya has been developed by YoungWilliams using Azure OpenAI Service and preimplementation tests have shown it provides faster and more accurate answers than its human counterparts,” says Pitman. “It will significantly improve the citizens’ experience and free-up call centre employees to work on more complex cases. Priya could easily be adapted to work with different health and social care programmes in future.” A chat bot developed by YoungWilliams uses Azure OpenAI Service to provide information quickly about food benefits “ Priya could easily be adapted to work with different health and social care programmes in future” ANDY PITMAN, MICROSOFT Photo: iStock/hapabapa