Every month, Digital Government Institute will profile an Education Advisory Committee (“EAC”) Member. This month’s Interviewee is HHS OIG Chief Information Officer, Chris Chilbert who serves on DGI’s Enterprise Architecture EAC. We hope you join us Thursday, April 26, 2018 in Washington, DC for the 17th annual Enterprise Architecture Conference.
Chris Chilbert serves as the Chief Information Officer of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG). He leads OIG’s efforts to employ modern technology and practices to fight waste, fraud, and abuse in federal healthcare spending. While at OIG, he has overseen the modernization of legacy networking, computing, mobile, and software infrastructure in support of the agency’s mission. Prior to joining HHS, Chris led the enterprise architecture program at the Department of Homeland Security, spent several years as a management consultant, and served as an officer in the navy’s submarine force. Mr. Chilbert holds a Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering from the United States Naval Academy and a Masters in Business Administration from the College of William and Mary. He was named a 2015 Fed 100 by FCW, as well as a GovTransformer “for being a federal IT leader who can translate complex IT challenges into mission success.”
How long have you been at your Agency and what do you do there?
I have been at HHS OIG just over 2 years (since December 2015). My job is to fight waste, fraud, and abuse in the trillion dollar federal healthcare portfolio and protect federal healthcare beneficiaries. I lead our efforts to employ technology to enable law enforcement, audit, evaluation, and legal operations in pursuit of this mission. Our goals are to securely put data at our employees’ fingertips when and where they need it and to run a world class IT operation.
What is the hottest topic being discussed at the Agency?
There are two pressing issues for HHS OIG. The first is to protect Medicare/Medicaid beneficiaries from prescription drug abuse (i.e., addressing part of the country’s opioid addiction challenge). We use advanced data analytics tools and techniques to identify anomalies in prescribing drugs and support our law enforcement officers in the field. The second pressing issue is to curb waste, fraud and abuse in Medicaid programs. We do this by collaborating with each state’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and analyzing each state’s claims data. Getting access to this data is a top priority, and we have made significant progress by working closely with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
What will people at your Agency be confronted with the next 3-5 years– what opportunities/hurdles (especially with respect to Robots, chatbots, Artificial Intelligence, etc.)?
We will need to continue to maintain a secure, robust infrastructure to support our oversight mission. HHS OIG is a Law Enforcement agency, Audit Firm (auditing a $1Trillion portfolio), healthcare think tank, and law firm. Each of these functions is supported by data analysis and various software applications. Some applications are more than a decade old and need to be modernized. We are aggressively adopting innovative technologies such as cloud computing and open source software as we replace purpose-built, siloed applications with software platforms that can support multiple business functions. We are using agile management practices such as DevOps to systematically build out that robust infrastructure taking an enterprise perspective with each new capability we deploy. We also plan to begin exploring machine learning and AI to further enable our mission. There may also be opportunities to automate some fairly rote back office processes (perhaps using digital robots in the procurement process to be more efficient).
What is your funniest/fondest memory/What are you most proud of during your government service?
My fondest memories are from when I did things that had a big impact. Putting smartphones in the hands of everyone in the IG Department has had important positive impact. In one instance, the ability to leverage search capabilities in real time resulted in arrest (e.g., enabling an Agent to access a Driver License database and then text photo to local Law Enforcement to apprehend the criminal who was on the run and no physical description was readily available).
What are your top three recommendations for others entering the discipline within government?
- Have humility- we must remember we serve the citizens of the country. For the time we serve, we need to keep in mind those who came before us and those who will come after us. While in government, we are stewards of the public trust.
- Be Bold- we face large problems and you cannot make an impact unless you take bold action—you have to take risks and take on big things.
- Need to be patient and persistent- never stop doing things the right way; always continue to push to make change and stick it out. Change only happens when we have the will to persevere.