HHS takes low-code approach to healthier legacy apps

The Dept. of Health and Human Services is leveraging agile and low-code dev tools to cut down tech debt, moving some of its 100-plus legacy apps to the cloud.

HHS takes low-code approach to healthier legacy apps

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has a trillion-dollar budget — and a lot of legacy software in need of modernization.

John O’Grady, acting director of the digital service division in the department’s Office of the Inspector General, is responsible for delivering the technology used by OIG staff to oversee Medicare, Medicaid and 100 other federal programs.

“Over the past four years, we’ve been leading a large-scale initiative to modernize all of our agency’s legacy applications. It’s a pretty big task: We have more than a hundred,” he says, adding that the project aims to save taxpayers’ money and help auditors and investigators more effectively promote patient safety, prevent prescription drug abuse, and strengthen protections against Medicaid fraud.

One of the first steps in dealing with 30 years of accumulated technology debt was making a shift to agile development and DevOps. To do so, O’Grady brought in external resources to coach the team in agile and lean methodologies.

“We’re training people up on agile and lean, getting them coached up, explaining what a good product owner is and what we’re going to need from our customer base,” he says.

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