The state of Maryland received $200 million from the Federal government to upgrade its technology, $14 million of which will be used to build a new suite of applications for the health and human services field.

Maryland’s Total Human-services Information Network (MD THINK) will be a cloud-based data source that provides access to agency programs including the Department of Human Resources, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Department of Juvenile Services, and the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation.

“MD THINK, the first program of its kind in the nation, will completely transform our ability to deliver vital human services to Marylanders and finally bring our service delivery into the 21st century,” Gov. Larry Hogan said on March 9. “With MD THINK, we will have the ability to provide help to Marylanders where they are and when they need it through a holistic approach to care that cuts through the bureaucratic red tape.”

MD THINK will use a scalable, pay-as-you-go, cloud-based platform that is expected to save money, streamline program operations, and increase agency productivity. State agencies will use enhanced data analytics from the applications to enhance the services they provide.

The first phase of MD THINK will focus on improving service delivery for children in foster care, disconnected youth, and families in need. Caseworkers will be given tablet devices, allowing them to provide services in the field as opposed to having to return to a central location to input data.

Hogan started focusing on the need for a statewide upgrade of technology infrastructure after the 2015 riots in Baltimore. Before and during the protests, the state had data showing areas of poverty, areas of high unemployment, and areas with transportation challenges, but that data wasn’t being used to help the state determine how to best direct resources. The new applications will be used to solve the problems shown with this data.

“I very distinctly remember showing our plans to the governor for MD THINK 16 months ago and explaining how this new approach can improve service delivery to the vulnerable children and families,” Sam Malhotra, Hogan’s chief of staff, said in a statement. “The governor’s commitment to this project is the reason why we are here.”

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