Florida county improves health services by integrating data

Florida county improves health services by integrating data

Orange County, Fla., is juicing up its health and family services case management system to boost efficiency and give health workers a clearer view of their clients' cases.

The Health and Family Services Department is adopting a browser-based case management system from Softscape Inc. of Wayland, Mass.

Since February, the department has been using Softscape's CaseOne software for medical case management, outpatient services and referrals to specialists, said Pete Clarke, deputy director of the department.

The system runs on an intranet within the county's firewalls, Clarke said.

Before, the data had resided on several standalone mainframes in multiple formats, said Kris Richarde, the department's supervisor of application development.

The department uses the Softscape app to separate patients that require intensive monitoring and care, such as patients with diabetes or asthma.

The CaseOne system has between 100 and 150 users, mostly nurses, administrators and social workers, Richarde said.

The system uses a group-level security scheme, she said. Each group'such as social workers or nurses'has its own system administrator and predefined level of security.

The system complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.

Passwords are carefully controlled, Richarde said. The software automatically logs users off after a period of inactivity, she said. After three unsuccessful log-in attempts, users must call their sysadmin to reset passwords.

The system accesses records for 30,000 patients in an Oracle Corp. database.

CaseOne works with Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server and IBM DB2 databases, said Kim D'Augusta, vice president of government sales for Softscape. It also has an application server built in C++.

'It's been our dream for a long time to have a single database,' Clarke said. 'We have folks that go from program to program. They overlap.' With multiple systems and databases, it is harder to track patients' needs, he said.

Clarke gave the example of a patient with asthma. 'It could be he actually has asthma. Or it could be he just doesn't have adequate ventilation in his home,' Clarke said. The solution could be as simple as moving the person to a room with a window.

In a year or so, Richarde expects 70 percent of the records for the county's Health and Family Services clients will be on one system.

From both an IT perspective and a business perspective, 'it makes our life a lot easier,' Richarde said.

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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