human service agency saves more than $1 million annually by reducing
dependence on paper forms
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Electronic forms also improve staff efficiency and services to IDHS
CHICAGO -- The Illinois Department of Human
Services is saving at least $100,000 a month in printing costs
through the use of electronic "e-forms." E-forms are electronic
versions of forms, enabling IDHS to drastically reduce the amount of
paper it uses, while at the same time cutting costs for storage and
"We know that to work smarter and improve service delivery, we have
to upgrade our technology," said IDHS Secretary Carol L. Adams,
Ph.D. "E-forms are a great step toward reaching these goals, as they
are getting staff out from under the mountain of paperwork and
enabling them to record and share information with customers,
providers, legislators and other staff faster and more accurately
than ever before."
An e-form can be filled in and saved by DHS
staff on the computer. These forms retain all the information typed
by the person completing these forms. The forms can then be printed
or e-mailed to other offices.
IDHS currently has more than 200 forms published on the Internet.
E-forms make it possible for IDHS to keep forms up to date
electronically, rather than have to print out new forms and throw
away old, outdated forms. This also ensures that customers will have
access to current forms. In the past, if a customer filled out an
outdated form, it could result in a delay in much-needed benefits.
"E-forms are helping IDHS reach its goal of ensuring that
customers are online and not in line," Adams said.
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The Smart Forms program, which is used in IDHS local offices by
human service caseworkers, is saving each caseworker an average of
over one hour a day. These forms auto-populate based on database
information stored by IDHS. This saves the caseworker the time of
having to manually fill in all information on each form.
IDHS continues to work closely with Illinois Department of
Central Management Services, the agency that manages the state's
computer networks, on this initiative. CMS procured, licensed and
coordinated the installation of the application software that allows
all governmental entities in the state to use these electronic
IDHS, the state's largest agency, serves more than 1.5 million
people annually with an annual budget of nearly $5 billion. IDHS
works to improve the quality of life of thousands of Illinois
families. The agency provides an array of comprehensive, coordinated
services through community health and prevention programs; services
for people with developmental disabilities, mental illness or
substance-abuse problems; employment training; and financial
support, child care and other family services for low-income
Department of Human Services news release received from the
Illinois Office of Communication and Information)