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Help for those who need it

The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) is using new technology to enhance the services it provides to the state's most vulnerable citizens, including abused and neglected children and the elderly and disabled. The department is deploying integration architecture to merge information from many different sources and systems.

Ben Harris, DCF's deputy secretary of operations and IT, explains, "Information is critical to enabling these clients to receive optimal services delivery from their community caregivers. That information is located on multiple, disparate databases accessed by 59 different systems used by DCF programs. Our goal is to integrate the information in those systems in a composite portal application that provides a single view of all relevant data about an individual client."

The integration architecture is built on Ensemble software from InterSystems. The platform will be integrated in DCF's OneFamily application series. The department serves a statewide population with 16 agency programs. DCF developers created a test bed for the technology, integrating information from five systems and went live in 90 days.

"It's already evident that the single view of client data and the ability to quickly create reports across multiple systems will enable us to take a holistic approach to care for our clients," says Harris.

DCF embarked on an rigorous development and deployment schedule that involves integrating information from at least five additional systems every 90 days.

The department expects to save a significant amount of money from using the integration architecture, according to Harris. "We'll be able to cut support requirements typically required by legacy relational technology by half and achieve a 50% savings for some applications," he says.

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