Boston to integrate health data
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Sep 13, 2000
Boston's health department, the oldest in the country, has awarded TekInsight.com,
an e-government service provider, with a $1.9 million contract to consolidate
and integrate the agency's data.
With 1,200 employees and a $100 million budget, the Boston Public Health
Commission (BPHC), an independent public agency, operates about 30 health
programs, including emergency medical services and services for homeless
people, victims of domestic violence and at-risk pregnant women. It also
collects health data — such as statistics on AIDS, tuberculosis and mortality — from city hospitals and processes birth and burial certificates, according
to Kristen O'Connor, BPHC's communications director.
"We've been noticing that it was virtually impossible to get integrated
data from all of our systems," she said.
According to Kyle Tager, president of New York-based TekInsight, BPHC
has amassed information using several information systems. TekInsight will
merge the data in one system so that it can be analyzed more effectively
and in greater detail, Tager said.
"In order to develop applications or portals to address these issues,
you really have to clean up the back of the house," Tager explained.
He said consolidating data would make it easier to manage and access.
The company will create a Web-enabled system to enable BPHC employees to
easily key in data through the Internet.
O'Connor said that better integrated data would enable BPHC to coordinate
services and trace how its programs are benefiting the public. For example,
O'Connor said that a victim of domestic violence can be referred to a program
and BPHC can keep track of her throughout the system. That's something that
BPHC cannot now do, she said.
Tager said the current system would not be disrupted because a parallel
system will be created. The 18-month project is expected to be completed
by December 2001.