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New York City Department of Social Services Receives “Best of New York” Award for ACCESS HRA Mobile

Agency Recognized by the Center for Digital Government for Best Mobile / Wireless Project


New York, NY, Sept. 24, 2018—The New York City Department of Social Services (DSS) and Diona, a global provider of enterprise mobility software for government Health and Human Services agencies, today announced that e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government has recognized New York City DSS with a 2018 “Best of New York” Award for ACCESS HRA Mobile. Winning in the Best Mobile / Wireless Project category, ACCESS HRA Mobile is a mobile application that enables New Yorkers to interact with the DSS in an innovative and convenient way, while improving the efficiency and productivity of DSS employees and operations.

With ACCESS HRA Mobile, DSS has:

  • Processed 3,000,000 pages of documentation through the app and reduced employee administration time.

  • Lowered rejection rates for failure to provide documentation by 20%.

  • Reduced center visits, with a 37% decrease in visits undertaken to return documents leading to the avoidance of approximately 600,000 center visits to date.

  • Reduced missed appointment rates by 10% with push notification appointment reminders and a re-orientation towards on-demand eligibility interviews.

  • Improved document and data quality with high quality document images and well validated data.

As the largest social services agency in the nation, DSS’ Human Resources Administration helps over 3 million New Yorkers through the administration of more than 12 major public assistance programs including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The TANF program provides cash assistance to more than 120,000 people each month, and SNAP supports over 1.6 million recipients and processes more than 30,000 new applicants each month.

“Our City has taken unprecedented steps to ensure that New Yorkers have access to all the benefits they are eligible for, and the Access HRA mobile app is a prime example of that effort,” said Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. “This innovative tool has had a tremendous impact on the way we interact with our clients by allowing them to access their benefits faster and more effectively.”

“Technology and innovation are essential in addressing inequality. ACCESS HRA has been groundbreaking in ensuring we can be where our clients are and that they can have case and benefit information at their fingertips,” said HRA Administrator Grace Bonilla. “Our efforts have changed the program for the better for both our clients and our staff by reducing barriers to access. New York City continues to push boundaries and develop new tools that can help the most vulnerable New Yorkers.”

“We’ve received about 3 million pages of documentation through the mobile app,” said Lauren Aaronson, Deputy Commissioner, Office of Business Process Innovation, NYC DSS. “The increased communication and insight we provide to clients is making a difference in the number of people accepted on benefits and who stay on benefits.”

Using Diona’s enterprise mobility solution Diona Mobile Self Service, DSS and Diona configured ACCESS HRA Mobile according to DSS requirements and integrated it with the agency’s wide range of back-end systems. Implemented in only seven months, the solution delivers a rich set of features designed specifically to address the most critical end-user needs:

  • Access to case, payment, EBT balance, electronic notice, and appointment information.

  • Pro-active reminders and push notifications for appointments, re-certifications, and application next steps.

  • Document upload feature with simple tap or click actions for submitting documentation anytime, anywhere and alleviating the need for in-office visits, fax machines, or postal mail.

  • Contact details can be accessed, reviewed, and updated easily.

  • Localization into English, Spanish, Russian, Korean, Chinese, Arabic, and French.

  • Integration with a New York City-wide account login service for authentication.

  • ADA Compliance and integration with accessibility features such as Android TalkBack and iOS VoiceOver for people who are blind or low vision.

  • Robust security and privacy protection that meet the highest data encryption standards.

  • Embedded prompts, explanations, Tour, Help, and FAQ functionalities.

To read the full story on NYC DSS and the ACCESS HRA Mobile solution, download the new Case Study.

“It’s been an honor to collaborate with NYC DSS to help reduce barriers to assistance through a mobile solution,” said Graham Stubbs, CEO, Diona. “The Best of New York Award for ACCESS HRA Mobile is a testament to the positive impact technology can bring to the administration of social services.”

Prior to implementing the mobile solution, DSS already had a client-facing website that displayed case information. However, smart phone capabilities that support proactive messaging, location-based services, and document capture offered an entirely new set of features that delivered additional business value. With more than 400,000 free App Store downloads, the mobile solution has positively affected the number of people accepted on benefits—and who stay on benefits.

The Best of New York Awards were presented at a special ceremony on the closing day of Government Technology’s New York Digital Government Summit on Friday, September 21 at the Albany Capital Center in Albany, NY. e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government recognizes state and local government organizations for their standout contributions, best practices, and innovations in information technology that improve citizen services and internal operations.

Award recipients were selected based on criteria that included collaboration between agencies, innovative use of technology and the improvement of services to citizens or state and local government employees/operations.

About the New York City Department of Social Services

The Department of Social Services, comprised of the Human Resources Administration (HRA) and the Department of Homeless Services (DHS), serves more than 3 million New Yorkers annually through a broad range of services that aim to address poverty, income inequality, and prevent homelessness. In April 2016, following a comprehensive review of the City’s homelessness policies, Mayor de Blasio announced a major restructuring of homeless services in New York City and appointed Commissioner Steven Banks to lead the Department of Social Services, which integrated HRA and the Department of Homeless Services under a joint management structure. HRA serves over 3 million New Yorkers through the administration of more than 12 major public assistance programs with 15,000 employees. DHS oversees a broad network of shelters and services with 2,000 employees, and is dedicated to helping New Yorkers experiencing homelessness get back on their feet as quickly as possible. DSS is central in implementing Mayor de Blasio’s agenda to expand opportunity for more New Yorkers, help homeless New Yorkers secure stable housing, address income inequality, and ensure that New Yorkers receive the benefits and assistance to which they are entitled. https://www1.nyc.gov/site/dss/index.page

About Diona

Diona is at home in two worlds: casework and enterprise software. Born out of unmatched experience and passion for bringing mobile technology solutions to government Health and Human Services agencies across the globe, Diona is building a future where people can get the help they need—when and where they need it. Diona's enterprise mobility software, Diona Mobility, turns mobile devices—such as smartphones and tablets—into tools to achieve better business and social outcomes. Diona Mobility improves how employees work and collaborate by extending organizational systems and delivering real-time data directly into the field. Diona’s mobile solutions are secure, robust, scalable, and reliable and feature flexible cloud-based or on-premise deployment options. With deep domain expertise and a user-centered design philosophy, Diona delivers mobile solutions that solve real-world problems. Learn more at www.diona.com or info@diona.com, and follow us on Twitter at @DionaMobility.


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