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E-Gov: Best Practices

Human Services/Health

State agencies have developed a variety of electronic applications to facilitate the publication of information and delivery of health and human services programs.

In health care, the most common uses are publication of directories of health care institutions such as hospitals and nursing homes, with an increasing number of states also providing evaluation data such as volumes of cases or inspection reports. A few states also are now publishing physician profiles with professional malpractice and disciplinary actions.

In human services, many states have adopted "smart cards" for welfare clients and an increasing number are using the Web for online adoption or child support applications. While the lack of technology skills and computer access has restricted the use of the Web for outreach to low-income and less educated constituents, Texas has launched a special program intended to guide those without computer experience in filling out simple online forms for assistance.

Michigan-Organ and Tissue Donor Registry Enrollment Program
The Michigan Department of State's Organ and Tissue Donor Registry Enrollment Program offers a convenient method for Michigan residents to be potential organ donors. People can add their names directly to the Gift of Life's Organ and Tissue Donor Registry via an online registration and prepaid postcards.

Massachusetts-Massachusetts Community Health Information Profile
Known as MassCHIP and sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health,  this interactive user-friendly online information service provides free, online access to community-level health and social indicators and data to assess health needs, monitor health status indicators, and evaluate programs. 

Connecticut-Physician Profiles
The Connecticut Department of Public Health publishes physician profiles with extensive information on education, practice specialties, malpractice complaints and disciplinary actions imposed by hospitals or the department. These profiles are supplemented by regulatory action reports of actions taken by the department against physicians or other professionals, as well as institutions such as hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes and other licensed providers.

Kansas-Kansas Information for Communities Health Care Database
The Kansas Information for Communities system gives data users the chance to prepare their own queries for health care data by geographic area, such as  generating customized tables for hospital discharges and specific reportable and infectious diseases.

STARS, State of Texas Assistance and Referral System
Developed for the Texas Department of Human Services by American Management Services, the STARS system allows Texas residents to pre-screen their eligibility for more than 50 types of state assistance programs. The bilingual, Web-based system guides citizens through steps to determine potential eligibility for such programs administered by several agencies, including family assistance, food stamps, disability and housing programs. The system also provides a special alternative service designed for those unfamiliar with computers.

Indiana Online Adoption Registry
Online registry with photos of "special needs" children waiting for adoption. Each child's story includes a description of the child's personality, behavior, special care needs and challenges an adoptive family might encounter.

Michigan Child Development and Care Program
Parents can search lists of licensed and registered child care providers by name, address or zip code , review information such as hours of operation, age of children accepted by each center and the center's licensed capacities. The site also publishes guidelines for finding quality child care and other child care related information.   

Minnesota Children's Report Card
Developed by Minnesota Planning in 1994 to measure progress toward the Minnesota Milestones goals for social and education services for children. The online version of the Children's Report Card uses indicators to help the state and its counties assess their performance, and allows users to conduct county-by-county analysis and map individual indicators.

Washington State Caregiver Support Forum
An online public discussion forum of the Aging and Adult Services Administration of the Washington Department of  Social and Health Services where officials and residents post questions and answers on where to find resources like nursing homes or live-in help or ask for practical advice on how to deal with Alzheimer's issues or specific medical or home-care problems.

Washington State Child Support Internet Payment Service
Also sponsored by the Washington Department of  Social and Health Services, this site uses secure Electronic Funds Transfer servers and software to allow employers and individuals to submit child support payments from bank accounts.