State and Federal governments increase their use of new technologies

It’s no secret that the U.S. Federal government is utilizing technology to cut costs and improve efficiency. In many of our previous posts, we’ve mentioned the government’s cloud-first initiative that pushes government organizations and departments to utilize cloud infrastructure to host their systems. The Federal government, however, is not the only government in the U.S. taking advantage of this technology.

Michigan’s state government is using the cloud to store and maintain their state archives.  According to an article in GCN, Michigan had been looking for a solution to its archiving problem since 1996. The state wanted to be able to store, preserve, and manage all of their important documents. Even in 1996 that was a difficult task to do with paper.

Eventually, after years of grant-funded software research, the state decided to use a cloud-based document management system. They did this for a few reasons:

  1. It cost less, naturally, as they didn’t have to purchase hardware or hire IT staff.
  2. It was designed to help preserve documents, and fit with their current workflow.
  3. It will allow them to open documents up to the public without having to involve government staff and resources (for access requests, etc.).

On the federal side, the adoption of new technologies to improve efficiency now includes new data entry systems.

In January, GCN reported how the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had fallen very far behind in processing reports about adverse drug incidents. According to the article, the FDA receives about 90,000 such reports on paper every year to their FDA Adverse Events Reporting System (FAERS). All of the data from these reports have to be entered into their system to be combined with the approximately 810,000 digital reports they receive per year.

To address the backlog, the FDA used a data entry service that utilized optical character recognition (OCR) technology, along with some manual entry and editing capability. Using this service and their technology, the FDA was able to process its entire backlog of reports within a few weeks.

Not only was the FDA able to process it’s immense backlog of reports in a very short amount of time, but, according to the article, was able to do it 8 times cheaper and 50 times faster than entering the data by hand. That’s a huge incentive to any organization that has a large amount of data to enter.

Together, these two articles add even more evidence that shows how leveraging new computing technology can offer great savings while simultaneously improving operational efficiency.

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