The State of Iowa was looking to innovate their rulemaking process—with a desire to have standardized and automated policy workflows across multiple agencies. This led to a three agency pilot program with Esper.
Not only did Iowa choose Esper to innovate on their policy management, but each agency wanted state-of-the-art cloud tools to get and stay ahead of the 5-year rolling reviews in their state.
This partnership with the Iowa Professional Licensing & Regulation Bureau (PLB), Iowa Department of Inspection & Appeals (DIA) and Iowa Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) will bring all of their rulemaking processes into the cloud.
Tackling the unique rulemaking process challenges with automation
As we all know, each government agency and department has their unique challenges, rulemaking processes and workflows. Esper’s cloud-based, SaaS platform allows us to configure and launch a product that meets any agency’s needs.
PLB is responsible for regulating and overseeing a wide range of professions and trades in the state of Iowa. These include professions such as architecture, engineering, nursing and social work—as well as trades like electricians, plumbers and cosmetologists. The PLB is responsible for issuing and renewing professional licenses, enforcing professional conduct standards and handling complaints against licensed professionals.
DIA is responsible for regulating and overseeing various aspects of healthcare and social services in the state of Iowa. This includes licensing and inspecting healthcare facilities, such as hospitals and nursing homes, as well as enforcing regulations related to the delivery of healthcare and social services.
DHHS works to protect and improve the health and resiliency of Iowans. This includes programs related to child welfare, mental health, disability services and assistance for low-income individuals and families. The DHHS also administers the Medicaid program in Iowa, which provides health coverage to low-income individuals and families.
Consistent and standardized rulemaking process steps
A common theme among the three departments was the desire for a consistent and standardized automated policy process across the agencies.
Each agency will have configured workflows for both standard and emergency rulemakings—adhering to their department’s unique business rules and logic.
All of these workflows will be mapped out and digitized prior to Esper launching, with the flexibility to add any additional workflows in the future.
Digitized rulemaking templates
Esper’s policymaking software digitizes each department’s rulemaking documents into fully editable, cloud-based versions. This key process enhancement will allow multiple stakeholders from the department—along with individuals in other departments—to seamlessly collaborate on rulemakings in real-time. Robust user permissions will dictate what projects staff can work on, along with assigning roles to reviewers and approvers.
Increased collaboration and communication across stakeholders
Within Esper’s document editing tool is chat functionality that allows staff to communicate with one another during the drafting period. This allows all rulemaking process steps and communication to stay within Esper.
Staff can also conveniently tag one another with @ mention functionality, notifying them when their assistance is required on a rulemaking project.
Automated policy workflows leads to improved project management in government
Having the entire rulemaking process under one digital roof will also allow each agency to track the progress of all ongoing projects. Nearly every agency across Iowa tracks their rulemakings differently—with some using Google sheets, Sharepoint and manual paper tracking.
Now, stakeholders in the Iowa PLB, Iowa DIA and Iowa DHHS will be able to quickly pull up different project management views to track the process of their rulemakings.
Due dates and collaborators are automatically assigned to a given part of the workflow, which is configured by our Professional Services team during our government software implementation.
Robust research capabilities
In addition to rulemaking drafting and project management, staff will be able to quickly research federal and state laws and regulations directly from Esper.
Users can search through existing regulations by keywords—along with conducting side-by-side comparisons of regulations.
Frequently viewed regulations can be bookmarked and stored on the main dashboard for easy access.
Learn how Esper can help your agency with your rulemaking process and workflows
If you’d like to learn more about how Esper has helped state agencies automate their rulemaking process and workflows, improve operational efficiency and streamline collaboration across stakeholders and multiple departments please feel free to request a demonstration here. We can walk you through the product and show how it can address your agency’s rulemaking and non-regulatory policymaking needs.