With projects ranging from safer Web browsing to a 21st century air traffic control system, federal, state, and local agencies demonstrate that they, too, can apply IT in critical and novel ways.
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The Orange County Health Care Agency in California has designed and deployed an electronic health record system for people enrolled in the Medical Services Initiative, a healthcare program for about 45,000 of the county's indigent adults. The system links pharmacies, lab and diagnostic centers, hospital emergency rooms, community clinics and primary care physicians.
The project required development of a web-based health record system, MSI Connect, to capture data such as emergency room admissions and discharges, diagnosis and procedure codes, prescriptions and specialty referrals. Since deploying the system last year, the county has studied its effects and has found improved quality of care for patients. The ability to refer patients electronically from the emergency department to their primary care physicians led to a 52% decrease in the likelihood of a related return visit to the ER, resulting in estimated annual savings of $636,000.