Department of Health Care Services CIO Chris Cruz

The California Department of Health Care Services received a national award on Wednesday for its new innovation strategy pushing forward with mobile applications, cloud-first technology and software-as-a-service.

The plan, called "Health Care Innovation Strategy: A 2020 Vision Strategic Plan for Enterprise Innovation and Information Services" received an Excellence in Enterprise Architecture Award during the 12th Annual Enterprise Architecture conference in Washington, D.C.

The strategy document was developed by the department’s Enterprise Innovation and Technology Services (EITS) staff: DHCS Enterprise Architect Ben Word and Richard Green, Ian Frazier, Joe Basco, Barbara Hill, Sanjib Nayak, with support from department CIO Chris Cruz.

In addition to setting a long-term vision and future direction for DHCS, the strategy document describes the department’s path to advancing Medicaid Information Technology Architecture (MITA) maturity, including business process automation, enterprise governance, information management, and technology targets.

DHCS says this strategy is now in the implementation phase and the enterprise portfolio, capital planning, and organization are being developed to achieve the target architecture.

Cruz believes other state agencies and departments could leverage the DHCS innovation strategy for their own purposes. In an interview last month with Techwire, he explained the strategy’s overarching purpose:

The department’s mission is to provide low-income Californians with access to affordable, high-quality health care. Our Health Care Innovation Strategy is a plan that will guide us in making major improvements in business automation, information provision and technology advances to ensure we do our part to accomplish that mission. It is our vision for moving toward software-as-a-service, toward cloud-first technology when applicable, and for moving some of our major systems’ applications into the cloud. It’s about mobile applications that align with our constituents’ and stakeholders’ needs. We know that 16 million Californians have smartphones, and we’re trying to bring information to them about their health care, plans and choices in an easy, convenient way. So it’s really about innovation, velocity and delivering IT solutions that provide business value.