The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has a clear mission—to protect and improve the health of all people in Washington. COVID-19 highlighted just how critical transparency and regulatory compliance is for healthcare agencies and their citizens. A key priority for many health departments—especially Washington DOH—as they look toward the future is to implement new technology to improve citizen engagement in their policymaking efforts.
Washington State DOH was limited in functionality by their existing homegrown system for managing their rulemakings. These limitations would prevent the agency from being as adaptive as they needed to be. In addition, this system did not provide them with the ability to manage and analyze citizen engagement on their policies.
Esper and the Washington State DOH partnered in December of 2021 with the joint goal of modernizing and streamlining the department’s regulatory and citizen engagement processes. Esper is able to bring all policies into a single, cloud-based platform and structure this data to identify policies in need of review.
Washington State DOH staff will be able to easily search all of their regulations, laws and policy documents—as well as all federal and state regulations and laws. Stakeholders can also collaboratively draft amendments and repeals, share rulemakings for review and approval and keep track of all progress on ongoing rulemaking projects.
Washington DOH will use Esper to research existing regulations, collaboratively draft rulemakings and incorporate public comments.
Another critical requirement was the ability to increase the agency’s engagement with citizens via their public comments period. With Esper, Washington State DOH can import, transcribe and group public comments from impacted citizens. The agency can then seamlessly attach the comments to their ongoing rulemakings, helping the agency achieve their goals of improved transparency and citizen engagement.
Washington State DOH uses Esper to:
- Streamline overall rulemaking processes and workflows
- Increase collaboration across rulemakings with key stakeholders
- Improve transparency, both internally and publicly, on regulations that impact employees, citizens and businesses
- Have a single source of truth for all regulatory reviews
- Increase citizen engagement by incorporating public comments into ongoing rulemakings