REI Insights

Building a Grants Systems to Automate Processes so HRSA Could Focus on Serving More Low-Income Communities
August 28, 2018
HRSA Case Study Image


The Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) is an agency within the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) chiefly responsible for improving health care to people who are geographically isolated or are economically or medically vulnerable by providing access to quality services, a skilled health workforce, and innovative programs. HRSA awards grants to thousands of recipients each year, who contribute to health services received by tens of millions of Americans.

In 1997, HRSA implemented the Grants Electronic Management System (GEMS) to help the agency and its grantees better maintain and regulate grants processes. However, at the time, many of the bureaus and offices within HRSA maintained separate program management information systems. These systems differed in access controls, security roles, data entry capabilities, navigation, reporting, analysis capabilities, and aesthetics. Because many grantees receive multiple grants from different bureaus and offices within HRSA, the significantly different program management tools created confusion and disunity in HRSA’s image to the grant community.

Over the past 20 years, REI Systems has responded to HRSA’s need for a centralized grant management system by developing the Electronic Handbooks (EHBs), an end-to-end grant support and program management application that unified grants management processes across the agency, allowing users to perform functions spanning grants operations, program planning, monitoring, and management from one central location.

Today, HRSA’s grants processes need to be re-engineered and the grants management system modernized to prepared for emerging requirements related to the GREAT Act, which requires data standardization and streaming. In the current environment, HRSA needs to leverage technology to deliver more with limited resources. Finally, HRSA wants to improve grantee performance by identifying and promoting best practices based on the performance data.


The EHBs integrated a series of disparate grant support systems into one transparent, enterprise-wide system. In conjunction with Grants.gov, this system has streamlined the application and administration process and has enabled applicants, grantee organizations, and HRSA to communicate proficiently and conduct activities electronically. It allows HRSA to operate in a paperless environment with improved business efficiency and in compliance with mandated agency-wide and Federal policies, procedures, and legislation.

REI Systems will now take this system to the next level by applying proven and emerging technologies such as modern software engineering, low code, cloud, mobility, blockchain, and artificial intelligence to improve service delivery and user experience while lowering overall operational costs.

With current and emerging challenges—such as the opioid epidemic, building capacity for the health workforce, and funding innovative models of care such as home visits—HRSA needs a more robust, streamlined, and automated system. With 15 years of experience working with this system, REI Systems will take what it has learned and re-engineer a modern system that will drive improved business efficiency and effectiveness as well as true data-driven decision making.


The HRSA EHBs support 41,000+ users, including more than 1,500 HRSA employees with over 500,000 workflow tasks handled each year to support electronic business processes. With REI’s help, HRSA grants have served over 22.8 million patients at more than 9,000 health centers, resulting in a 27% increase of patients treated since 2008. And with the investment in the EHBs, HRSA was able to reduce time and effort spent by 60%, allowing staff resources to focus on making grants available to health centers across the U.S.

With the modernization of the system, HRSA will be compliant with emerging data standardization and reporting requirements while creating shared business systems and optimizing mission delivery.

REI’s HRSA customer praised the team for their outstanding delivery of the EHBs: “The REI team certainly established for me the standard by which contractors should be measured. REI has always been, and I’m sure will always be, a group of people who strive for excellence and achieve it.”