Surveillance System (I-NEDSS), that timeline is significantly
fast-tracked. Once a patient’s blood work is completed,
the lab immediately inputs the results electronically into
a network that connects state, local and federal health-focused agencies. The local doctor and patient are given the
information needed for treatment within 24 hours of the lab
The results are also immediately reported to the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so federal
officials can collect the data to assemble a national data-
base of cases. “This gives us a robust, Web-based capability
for reporting these cases,” says James Driscoll, CIO of the
Illinois Department of Public Health. “We have important
data on an estimated 140 diseases in this system.”
Developed in-house with support from Rose International,
a technology services firm, I-NEDSS was launched in the
wake of post-9/11 concerns about the reporting capabilities
of public health systems in the event of a bioterrorism attack.
The Illinois system was first tested in 2004, when it reported
10 food-borne diseases in a database shared by state and local
health departments. In spring 2009, H1N1 was added.
Today, Illinois is planning to expand the system’s capability to include Sexually Transmitted Diseases and death
records. Ultimately, state officials seek a tool that will determine where outbreaks are occurring to allow for swifter
intervention to minimize the impact on the public.
“We’re constantly asking what more this system can do
to help local health departments,” says Suresh Kathiresan,
project manager. “We want them to have a clearer understanding of what they’re dealing with.” 3
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No Vacation for
Providing cyber-security can be a relatively glory-
free mission, but it’s still No. 1 on the priority list of
many government agencies, according to a recent
survey released by CDW Government. Consider the
• 54 percent of all federal agencies participating in
the survey said they experience a cyber-security
incident at least once a week.
• 33 percent said malware is the top daily cyber-security issue, and 25 percent said remote user
access is the top daily issue.
• External sources account for 47 percent of an
agency’s biggest threat, such as state-sponsored
cyber-security warfare programs that target DOD-linked enterprises.
Clearly, the demand for IT solutions that can
keep up with the numerous hackers out there won’t
slow down anytime soon. “Despite technology implementation and employee education programs, few
agencies are seeing an actual decrease in the number
or severity of cyber-security incidents,” says Andy
Lausch, vice president of federal sales for CDW-G.
“Unfortunately, they are simply outpaced by
organized crime, increasingly sophisticated hackers
and state-sponsored professionals. What’s more,
employee noncompliance with security procedures,
inappropriate Web surfing and carelessness with
devices open the gate to external cyber-security
“Friending” Feds BY NICOLE GIBSON
BASELINE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2010
Social networking may bring about the greatest
change to workforce culture since the introduction of
e-mail, improving both the speed and quality of communication within an organization. PricewaterhouseCoopers
(PwC) Public Sector Practice helps our clients evaluate
the performance and value of social networks as an
element of their IT infrastructure. We recommend that
government agencies consider the following steps before
implementing a social networking program:
1. Thoroughly analyze organizational processes.
Look carefully at how people inside your organization
communicate. Is most communication done person to
person or through e-mail? How is information shared
within groups? Managers need a baseline understanding of how people already work to ascertain how
a social networking system will impact their day-to-day communication.
2. Reward collaboration. Most incentive plans
reward individual contributions, an approach that can
create a competitive work environment. In order for
a social networking solution to thrive, a government
agency needs to rework incentive plans to support
collaboration within and across departments, decrease
competition between organizations and agencies, and
promote the sharing of information. This is critical
for building trust with new users and getting them to
embrace a social network.
Nicole Gibson is a manager in the Public Sector Practice