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Alaska Department of Health and Social Services

Modernize access to healthcare

Alaska state flag. The flag consists of eight gold stars, forming the Big Dipper and Polaris, on a dark blue field.

Project details

Outdated technology was making it difficult for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services to update its eligibility systems for public benefit programs to reflect changes to federal or state policy. They asked 18F for help developing a procurement strategy that would allow them to deliver better service to those in need.


  • Together we created a product vision statement, strategy, and roadmap.
  • We helped staff adopt DevOps practices and establish a build and deployment pipeline to allow the state to accept work from outside vendors.
  • Before the state issued the RFP to identify a vendor, we used lean prototypes to validate some early technology choices. This also gave our partner confidence that a selected vendor would be able to do the work.
  • An agile approach to the RFP documents allowed the final RFP to include comments and address questions from vendors and other stakeholders.


  • The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services released, awarded, and managed its first modular procurement.
  • Transparent working processes and good DevOps practices and tools helped foster more trusting, productive relationships between agencies and vendors.

Our experience with 18F has been much different. They have helped us learn agile development as members of our team. The daily standups have really helped us form a close working relationship with them. They have introduced us to a new tools that I expect we will continue to use when our work with them is completed.
—Monica Windom, Director Division of Public Assistance
Health and Social Services, State of Alaska

Agency partner

Alaska Department of Health and Social Services

  • Modular contracting and working in the open

    Working in the open is a key component of building trust between governments and vendor partners. Read about how the State of Alaska is using openness and code sharing to foster greater trust between government project teams and vendor teams as part of a large legacy system overhaul.
  • Using agile methods to improve the RFP process

    The process of developing and issuing RFPs is often viewed as a one off - a special activity that occurs infrequently and in isolation. What if we applied the principles of iteration and continuous improvement to the way that RFPs are developed?
  • Win big by going small

    Adopting this “smaller is better” mindset as a way to overhaul a large, complex legacy system can feel counterintuitive. But the notion of smallness — of distilling complex, interdependent tasks into achievable units of work — is fundamental to building modern software in both the private and public sector.