Fla. county centralizes health, family services data

Orange County, Fla., is juicing up its case management for health and family services.

To give health workers a clearer view of their clients, the Health and Family Services Department has adopted 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 specialist referrals, said Pete Clarke, the deputy director. CaseOne runs on an intranet within the county's firewall.

Before, the data had resided on several standalone mainframes in multiple formats, said Kris Richarde, the department's supervisor of application development. The Softscape application can separate out patients who require intensive monitoring, such as those with diabetes or asthma.

The app has about 150 users, mostly nurses, administrators and social workers, Richarde said. They work under a group-level security scheme to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.

Each group has its own system administrator and predefined security level. Passwords are carefully controlled, Richarde said. The software automatically logs users off for inactivity. After three unsuccessful log-in attempts, a password must be reset by a sysadmin.

County users can access records for 30,000 patients stored in an Oracle Corp. database, although CaseOne also works with Microsoft SQL Server and IBM DB2 database management systems, said Kim D'Augusta, vice president of government sales for Softscape. CaseOne also has an application server written in C++.

Single database

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

A patient with asthma symptoms, for example, might have poor ventilation, and the remedy could be as simple as moving the person to a room with a window, he said.

In a year or so, Richarde said, 70 percent of the records for the county's health and family services clients will be on one system.

From an IT as well as a business perspective, 'it makes our life a lot easier,' she said.

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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