Nevada Health Department Goes Digital to Expand Access

Nevada’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is embracing technology — from mobile apps to data visualization dashboards — to better serve the state’s residents online.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, improving digital service delivery became a priority for many government agencies, suddenly being viewed as a necessity. This was especially true for public-sector health. In Nevada, where many people live in isolated areas, technology is vital in connecting residents to care, said Shannon Litz, public information officer for the director’s office at the Nevada DHHS, in an email.

“Nevada is a large state with many rural areas, so the availability of information virtually is vital to reach constituents and serve communities,” she said.

Nevada is working on this with the launch of data dashboards, a mobile app, new websites and other initiatives to come. But a major part of making state health information more widely available are data dashboards. In February 2023, the state announced the launch of new data dashboard on topics that ranged from drug overdoses to Medicaid services, to communicable diseases and more.

As Litz explained, these dashboards are developed by DHHS’ Office of Analytics, and they aim to help both policymakers and the public make data-driven decisions. The dashboards use filters, visualizations and summary tables so those with limited data literacy can interpret information. Nevada’s Office of Analytics received national recognition in April for information transparency.

Litz said that data dashboards help serve DHHS at the leadership level, as they lead to more coordinated approaches to public health solutions by enabling greater knowledge sharing.

“Through the trends illustrated on the dashboards, DHHS and other agencies can identify hot spots or demographic groups most at risk which allows for tailored intervention programs, such as targeted outreach or specialized treatment services,” Litz said.

On the other side of the equation, dashboards help educate members of the public to improve public participation in public health.

The Office of Analytics is also working with IT units across DHHS to modernize data infrastructure in alignment with federal efforts, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Data Modernization Initiative.

DHHS is also working to bring health services online. Work is being done with the Nevada Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). A major goal is to test WIC online ordering through a WICShopper app. That project is still in its development phase and online ordering is expected to be made available to participants later this year, Litz said.

Another transformative DHHS tech initiative is the recent launch of ASL Anywhere, a mobile-friendly platform offering American Sign Language interpretation services for free. This tool improves accessibility, and not just within public health agencies. The project aims to help empower independence among users so that they have equal access to information when communicating.

Other state-launched websites, like the Nevada Health Workforce website and, aim to further digitize the information and services provided by DHHS, streamlining the process for Nevadans to access information and other resources.

Looking forward, Litz said that the state’s All-Payer Claims Database for Medicaid is currently in development. This database will support the state’s data collection efforts and allow the state to better assess the impacts of its programs and initiatives.

Also coming down the pipeline is the establishment of a centralized Nevada 988 call center. DHHS’ Division of Public and Behavioral Health is currently in the evaluation process for a request for proposals for a vendor to create and administer the call center. Vendors were asked to demonstrate the ability to enable the direct dispatch of Designated Mobile Crisis Teams and to make the aggregation of data for public dashboards possible.


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