How Possible is Digital Government?

old government building

Government effectiveness can be boosted significantly by technology. In the World Governance Indicators by the World Bank, first-world nations in Asia like Japan and Singapore scored 93 and 100, respectively. That’s on a scale of 0 to 100. Singapore has been so effective in using technology for delivering government services.

But it doesn’t even come close to the way Estonia, a tiny Baltic nation, did with technology and public service. With a population of more than 1.3 million, it is easier for this former Soviet republic to be arguable the most advanced digital society in the world. Estonians, for example, are holders of an e-residency identity card, a cryptographic key, and a PIN code that can access Estonia’s national systems. These are all Estonians need to access public services, from applying for a passport to getting bank loan approvals.

Understanding Citizens Better

Customers and citizens don’t differ from their demands. People expect to receive the same quality of service from the government that they are receiving from the public sector; never mind the fact that governments are responsible for millions of people. But in their minds, if the private sector can do it, governments should be able to do the same.

But this is more than just about crafting policies that address the concerns of the citizenry. Governments should allow people to participate in the creation of these policies and public services that, among others, only aim to provide a convenient way for them to access such services. The best way to do it is to use a reliable online community builder. This will allow the interaction of the public and private sectors in coming up with decisions, policies, and priorities.

Creating National ID Systems

Technology is paving the way for a more inclusive national ID system that will improve tax compliance and provision of public services. The ID system will allow the application for and payment of taxes online. People can also link their bank accounts and investment portfolios to the national system. Of course, this will require significant trust and confidence in the government. This is something that governments must work on before they institutionalize a national ID system.

With a national ID system in place, the possibilities are endless. The citizens, for example, can use this card to apply for social aid. This is also the only thing they would need to prove their eligibility for certain government programs.

man holding a tablet

Improving the Quality of Education

Governments can also use a monitoring tool for better reportage on the quality of the public school system. The monitoring tool, for example, can come up with reports on the various public school services. If a school is lacking the resources to teach students better, the government will have an easier time responding to these needs. The use of these monitoring tools in several countries led to faster response time from the government. The issues ranged from classroom repairs to lack of textbooks.

Providing Better Health Care Services

The use of digital technology in managing patient information is critical for the success of the public health system. In Thailand, for example, the government is implementing an ambitious digital ID system that will integrate the Thai Public Health System and Personal Health Records. The integration of these two units will allow medical professionals and patients access to medical records.

It will make it easier for doctors to come up with a diagnosis based on the medical history of the patients. This is incredibly helpful for emergencies where medical professionals have no way of knowing if a patient is allergic to certain medications. Centralizing medical records and making them accessible to professionals will pave the way for better health services.

Managing Urban and Transport Sectors

Do you have to wait for automated vehicles to arrive before harnessing technology and all its power to improve public transportation? The best way for countries to improve their services is to manage the transport sector more efficiently. Aside from institutionalizing convenient and practical bus and train routes, governments should also provide traffic information in real-time. Some governments partnered with Google Maps and Waze to improve their public road services.

They are also using technology through apps and platforms in the reporting of road accidents and crimes. Citizens will feel safer knowing that the government is tuned in on what’s happening on these roads. Improved traffic and road safety will attract investors and make citizens more confident in their government.

There is no better way to serve the people than to use what they’re also comfortable with — technology. With this, there is nothing that the government cannot provide in way of public services. Harnessing technology for more efficient delivery of public services is not a 2021 thing. It’s been here for the past decade. It’s time for governments to get on the train.

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