Capturing data for disaster readiness

As part of its Cities Readiness Initiative (CRI), the Chicago Department of Public Health has implemented a solution involving document capture and forms processing software developer Datacap and technology solutions provider Electronic Knowledge Interchange.

CRI is a federally funded pilot program--overseen by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention--to help cities increase their ability to deliver medicine and supplies during a large-scale public health emergency. In a worst-case scenario, the department would have to dispense medications to about 3 million Chicago residents within 48 hours.

The solution had to provide efficient and accurate analysis of medicine distribution and recipient coverage, as well as a search capability for specific individuals to view an electronic copy of the CRI information form. At the recommendation of EKI, the department chose Datacap's Taskmaster automated information capture technology, as well as the IBM/FileNet enterprise content management system.

The data capture technology can be used to scan completed CRI information forms, extract relevant information from each form with intelligent character recognition (ICR) and route the information to the content management solution for rapid storage and retrieval. The data could then be used for reporting and searching as necessary.

"We hope to never have to use this solution for a large-scale public emergency. However, we wanted our staff to be properly trained," says Steve Mier, director of administration for the Chicago Department of Public Health. "Therefore, we applied it to existing programs that enable us to regularly utilize the technology to maintain high levels of proficiency."

The two programs currently using the application are the School-Based Oral Health Program, which provides free dental services to as many as 400,000 Chicago children in about 600 elementary schools, and the Immunization Program, which strives to increase resident immunizations and decrease the incidence of diseases that are preventable with vaccinations, according to a recent press release from Datacap.

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