Healthcare Enforcement and Licensing Management System (HELMS)

The Washington State Department of Health is pursuing a new system HELMS (Health Care Enforcement and Licensing Management System) that will transform licensing and enforcement processes, as well as our interactions with participants and stakeholders in those licensing and enforcement activities. HELMS will improve data security, support electronic records management, and improve access to information for all involved.

What is HELMS?

HELMS (Healthcare Enforcement and Licensing Management System) is a modernized electronic licensing system that will replace the old and outdated ILRS (Integrated Licensing and Regulatory System).  HELMS will expand the online capabilities for healthcare providers, facility operations, educational programs, and the public. There will be greater access to Department data as well as faster transmission of information using electronic mail and websites. 
HELMS will deliver a solution that supports external customer participation in the department's healthcare licensure and regulatory activities and the processes and workflows executed by state staff and board/commission/committee members. The licensure and regulatory activities within the scope of HELMS support the department's goals for patient safety and access to care. The activities to be supported are listed below.

  • Healthcare professional and facility credentialing and renewal.
  • Healthcare professional and facility credential regulation (investigation, inspection, enforcement, adjudication)
  • Healthcare facility and community health system programs (adverse events reporting, certificate of need, charity care policies, construction review services, emergency cardiac and stroke categorization, health professions shortage area designation, trauma care fund, trauma service designation)
What are the benefits?

Modernizing our current system will provide several benefits that will improve use, access, and control costs by shifting more interactions to online functions. 
As examples, HELMS (Healthcare Enforcement and Licensing Management System) will:

  • Expand the provider credential search to include more information for healthcare consumers about providers, such as specializations and practice locations.
  • Enable patients and others who have filed complaints against practitioners and facilities to check complaint status online.
  • Streamline license renewals for employers of multiple providers by allowing bulk license renewals.
  • Replace postal mail notifications with electronic notification to health care providers of license expirations, application status changes, continuing education deadlines, and disciplinary actions.
  • De-identify sensitive and confidential data to enable broader data access for research and public disclosure.
  • Allow providers to delegate to others to manage licensing transactions with the department.
  • Enhance data around health care providers and practice locations, helping to identify health care needs and trends in communities.
  • More efficient records sharing for regulatory boards, commissions, and committees, such as non-routine applications and disciplinary case files.

How does this benefit me as an employee?

  • Reduces outbound and inbound mail processing for renewal and other processes through online transactions.
  • Allows for remote case review without a physical copy.
  • Provides more efficient access to performance measures by way of reporting dashboards.
  • Disseminates information more efficiently in response to public records requests.
  • Automates manually performed services, processes, and capabilities.
  • Shares records securely, and more efficiently, with regulatory boards, commissions, and committees.
  • Integrates healthcare enforcement and licensing transactions into a single system.
  • Captures information one time at the source and reuses it throughout the system, eliminating redundant data entry.

How does this benefit me as an applicant or credential holder?

  • Allows employers of multiple providers to perform bulk credential renewals.
  • Enables electronic notifications on credential expiration, status changes, disciplinary actions, and continuing education due dates.
  • Provides the ability to see and manage information, such as application status, address updates, allowing providers to maintain up-do-date information.

How does this benefit me as a CONSUMER?

  • Provides electronic access to facility inspection and/or investigation reports.
  • Allows consumers visibility to a provider’s specializations and practice locations.
  • Enables patients and others who have filed complaints against practitioners and facilities to check complaint status online.
Who does this affect?

HELMS (Healthcare Enforcement and Licensing Management System) will support the licensing and regulatory needs of:

  • Almost 500,000 healthcare professionals practicing in 86 professions across 359 credential types.
  • 2,500 educational and training programs across four educational and training program types.
  • Nearly 12,000 facilities across 21 facility types.
Why is this happening?

Licensing and regulating healthcare providers, facilities, and educational and training programs are statutory responsibilities of the department that promote patient safety and access to care. 

Those activities are currently supported by an outdated and ageing ILRS (Integrated Licensing and Regulatory system) system. ILRS is based on older technology and the department is unable to increase its capabilities to meet the growing requirements and expectations of customers for more online interactions. With the system nearing the end of its usable lifespan mission-critical functions of the Department will be unsupported and at risk. 

HELMS (Healthcare Enforcement and Licensing Management System) will provide licensees and employers with better services to increase work efficiencies and greater access to data. 

What systems will be replaced by HELMS?

HELMS (Healthcare Enforcement and Licensing Management System) will replace the ILRS (Integrated Licensing and Regulatory system) system, as well as sixteen current applications that are unable to match the growing requirements and expectations of customers.

Who is leading this effort?

Executive Sponsor: Lacy Fehrenbach, Chief of Prevention, Safety and Health

IT Director: Callie Goldsby, Chief Information Officer, Center for Technology Operations

Project Director: Ratna Craig, Project Director HELMS

Business Deputy Project Director: Elizabeth Geisler, Health Systems Quality Assurance

IT Deputy Project Director: Windin Doyle, Office of Innovation and Technology

IT Project Manager: Setty Duddu, Office of Innovation and Technology

Organizational Change Management Practitioner: Cami Jones, Health Systems Quality Assurance

Historical Information

The department issued a Request for Information (RFI) in May 2017 to gather more information in support of the HELMS effort. The below information about the RFI is provided for further background information on the requirements for HELMS:

If you have any questions about the HELMS project, please email us.