TTS hones customer focus for opioid treatment site website 

A month-old opioid addiction treatment website shows what the General Services Administration’s reformation of its Technology Transformation Service (TTS) can deliver, according to one of that organization’s new deputies.

TTS helped the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) develop over the last few months, relying in part on input from at-risk individuals who would actually use the online portal, according to Harry Lee, assistant commissioner of TTS client and markets group.

The plan for the site -- which lists 13,000 state-licensed addiction, mental health and treatment providers, treatment options and other resources -- was developed from the public’s perspective, not an IT perspective, Lee said in remarks at a Dec. 3 technology and management conference produced by Government Executive and NextGov. The site also allows searches based on payment options, age, languages spoken and access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction.

SAMHSA ramped the portal up in late October under the White House’s effort to address opioid addiction across the country.

“SAMHSA is on the front line” of the opioid crisis, Lee said. “It realized the need to lower the challenges for people in crisis to find the help they need.”

The site was developed under TTS’ new client-focused structure that GSA implemented in September, Lee said. That structure split TTS into two parts, both overseen by Anil Cheriyan, TTS director and Federal Acquisition Service deputy commissioner.

Lee directs TTS' clients and markets operations group helps customer agencies develop solutions and innovate with technology and includes 18F, the IT Modernization Centers of Excellence and the Presidential Innovation Fellowship program.

TTS’ other half, TTS Services, is led by Dominic Sale and supports GSA’s established innovation solutions products, such as, the crowdsourcing site and the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program’s standardized cloud assessment program.

For the SAMHSA site, the clients and markets group's 18F team focused on human-centered design, Lee explained. The plain English and the site's mobile friendliness makes information more accessible and easier for “individuals to take that next step to get help,” he said.

“The approach was to go all the way to the end of the process,” Lee said. TTS talked with service providers, substance abuse prevention experts and hundreds of individuals in need of the help the site can provide, he said

The site shows the growing emphasis on an increased TTS’ customer-centric approach that Cheriyan promised when he came on board last December. He said he would leverage his experience in consumer banking to improve digital services for government agencies. Lee, who has been on the job at GSA for three months, also came from the tech industry, working for companies such as NCR and Teradata and most recently as managing director of Atlanta-based digital solutions consulting firm BlueSky Strategic Advisors.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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