With money to spend, governors talk up IT

Emerging from several challenging fiscal years, the nation's governors are ready to spend big money on IT projects, according to a white paper released today by market research firm Input Inc.

The report covers State of the State speeches made by 44 governors, and highlights health care and interoperable communications as areas where governors said they want to see IT improvements.

Looking to reduce operating costs and funnel more money to programs, governors are pointing to health IT as one way to accomplish their goals. Nine governors mentioned the need for IT improvements in their health care systems, citing electronic health records and the need for improved service delivery as two top priorities.

The governors of Idaho and Missouri called for complete redesigns of their states' Medicaid systems, the white paper said. Missouri has a 12-member committee reviewing the state's health care IT, as well as looking at ways to adopt interoperable health IT and the use of telemedicine. The committee's final report is expected in September.

Following the devastation caused last year by hurricanes throughout the Gulf Coast region, Input expects affected states to make several major purchases of interoperable communications and emergency preparedness and management systems.

Louisiana has released an invitation to bid for a rapid communication system and satellite access. The Homeland Security Department is pushing such projects, making grant money available for public safety communications with the guidance that the funds be used to improve communications and interoperability, and that all upgrades be compliant with the National Incident Management System.

Input's report is based on governors' speeches made from Jan. 1 to April 1. The white paper does not include Arkansas, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota and Texas, whose governors either did not give State of the State speeches, or whose speeches were not available to Input during its research.

Ethan Butterfield is a staff writer for Government Computer News' sister publication, Washington Technology.

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