Obama orders federal agencies to step up mobile services

As mobile devices and apps increasingly become part of life--and healthcare--the Obama administration is calling for government services to get on the mobile bandwagon. 

As part of the Digital Government Strategy initiative, President Obama yesterday directed all government agencies to make at least two of their "priority customer-facing services" available on mobile devices within the next 12 months.

He also wants them to make government data more widely accessible, so that private-sector developers can use it to create mobile apps, reports Federal Computer Week.

Each agency is to create a web page outlining its digital strategy within two months and use web performance analytics and customer satisfaction measurement tools on all ".gov" websites, according to a memorandum from the president.

Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel wrote about the project in a post on the White House website. "At its core, the strategy takes a coordinated, information- and customer-centric approach to changing how the government works and delivers services to the American people," he said.

"Designing for openness from the start--making open data the default for government IT systems and embracing the use of web APIs--enables us to more easily deliver information and services through multiple channels, including mobile, and engage the public and America's entrepreneurs as partners in building a better government," VanRoekel said.

The Data.gov site will be transformed into a data and API catalog that pulls directly from agency websites in real time to encourage more outside development, he added.

The administration also announced the Presidential Innovations Fellows program, which will bring private-sector innovators in to work on government projects, including the Blue Button personal health record initiative.

The VA and other health agencies have made strides toward developing mHealth services. Health and Human Services offers several health text-messaging programs, providing information on maternal and child health, smoking cessation and more, for example.

"Innovators in the private sector and the federal government have used these technological advances to fundamentally change how they serve their customers. However, it is time for the federal government to do more," Obama said in the memorandum.

"As a government, and as a trusted provider of services, we must never forget who our customers are--the American people."

To learn more:
- read about the Digital Government Strategy initiative
- here's the Ppresident Obama's memorandum
- read the Federal Computer Week article
- check out the Presidential Innovation Fellows program
- read VanRoekel's post
- check out HHS' mHealth offerings