Innovative and collaborative IT projects across North Carolina state government received State Government IT awards in a competition with nearly 100 entries from across the country, while six other North Carolina projects were named finalists by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO).
NASCIO, which supports state CIOs and other technology officials, gave awards in the following categories to North Carolina state agencies at its annual conference in Louisville, Kentucky on Tuesday, Oct. 11:
- Information Communications Technology (ICT) Innovations: Prison Telehealth Program: Efficiency and Innovation in North Carolina Correctional Facilities, N.C. Department of Public Safety
- Business Process Innovations: When Minutes Mattered: Automated COVID-19 Reporting System Saved Hospitals’ Time & Reduced Administrative Burden, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services
"The ever-changing demands and challenges of our increasingly digital world mean that state governments must be nimble and innovative to meet the needs of our constituents," said James Weaver, state chief information officer and secretary of the N.C. Department of Information Technology. "These NASCIO recognitions demonstrate that across agencies, North Carolina state government is embracing the tools and creative thinking we need to effectively and securely serve our residents, businesses and visitors with digital solutions that can meet them any time, anywhere, on any device."
The prison telehealth program, undertaken by NCDPS and NCDIT-Public Safety staff in partnership with UNC Health, has transformed the delivery of health care at all 55 state correctional facilities while increasing safety and producing significant cost savings through reduced transportation and staffing needs. With a pilot telehealth program underway in January 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic spurred an expedited expansion of the program.
Today, the approximately 30,000 people incarcerated in North Carolina correctional facilities can access secondary and tertiary health care in more than 35 medical specialties from more than 200 specialist doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
"This project makes a tremendous difference in North Carolina correctional facilities’ ability to provide health care to offenders and eases the burden on staff to transport offenders for medical care," said Glenn Mack, NCDIT-Public Safety chief information officer. "It was achieved through a tremendous, collaborative effort by Public Safety and NCDIT staff to overcome technical issues in the middle of the pandemic."
Amid soaring hospitalization and death rates from the COVID-19 pandemic, NCDHHS implemented the OpenBeds Critical Resource Tracker solution to direct life-saving resources to the hardest-hit hospitals across the state. OpenBeds, developed by Bamboo Health, provides real-time data reporting and an immediate inventory of available critical beds, vital equipment and trained clinicians.
OpenBeds enabled hospitals to identify surpluses, shortages and gaps in their regions and across the state and to coordinate resources for the best response to needs during the pandemic. It also automated reporting for state and federal requirements, reducing the burden on health care staff.
"This project really changed the way that we delivered data to our residents. It really changed the way that we provided policy to our residents. This gives accurate knowledge to the policy decision makers in our state,” said Charles Carter, NCDHHS assistant secretary of technology services.
North Carolina also had six finalists for the NASCIO State Government IT Awards, which recognize innovative technology solutions and leadership among state governments:
- Cross-Boundary Collaboration and Partnerships: The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) Program: Administering Additional Food Assistance Benefits to North Carolina’s Students and Children, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services
- Cybersecurity: Collective Defense and Support: A Whole-of-State Approach to Cybersecurity, N.C. Department of Information Technology
- Data Management, Analytics and Visualization: Unemployment Insurance Fraud: Fraud Detection and Prevention through the Power of Data and Analytics, N.C. Department of Commerce
- Digital Services: Government to Business: Expediting North Carolina Business Creation: An Online Document Filing Wizard, N.C. Secretary of State’s Office
- Emerging and Innovative Technologies: Life-Saving Innovation: ATSC 3.0 in Public Safety Communications, N.C. Department of Information Technology
- Enterprise IT Management Initiatives: North Carolina: Transforming Procurement in the Cloud, N.C. Department of Administration