Improving Human Services Using Virtual Technical Assistance: Research Brief.
Abazeed, Ali. Benton, Amanda.
United States. Department of Health and Human Services. Office of Human Services Policy.
Published: March 2020
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE).
200 Independence Ave., SW Room 415F
Washington, DC 20201
Tel: (202) 690-7858
Fax: (202) 690-6562
This brief explains technical assistance (TA) is an important tool to support the federal government’s significant, continued investment in local communities working to improve well-being and economic resilience and mobility, and that virtual TA may be a helpful tool to improve collaboration among human services programs at the local level. It then shares findings from a study that sought to identify promising strategies and lessons learned about using virtual TA. For the study, key informant conversations were conducted with federal staff and TA providers. Respondents emphasized the importance of choosing the virtual TA technology that works for all participants, not necessarily the most innovative tool. Findings from the study indicate virtual TA seems to work best when it responds to the unique needs of recipients and prioritizes usability and interaction over sophistication. In addition, the study found regular administration of virtual TA programming may increase recipient satisfaction. The more consistently program offices offer virtual TA, the more likely TA recipients are to speak positively about their experiences. Findings indicate virtual TA should be supplemented with in-person meetings, virtual programming should be designed with recipients in mind, agencies should facilitate a virtual platform for peer sharing, and opportunities should be offered for interaction and follow-up. 2 references.
communicable diseases; social isolation; social services; technical assistance; information technology; guidelines; communication techniques