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Environmental Health Informatics – Saving Lives?

Environmental Health Informatics – Saving Lives?
The Environmental Health world, like other government domains, is fertile ground for aspirational data projects. Local Health Departments consistently capture records of applications, permits/licenses, inspections, violations, complaints and the time spent providing services. Financial accounting is also key to doing business. In some ways, our collected data is like a dashboard camera, constantly recording video out the windshield of an Uber car. In most cases, the video is never retrieved and studied…until there’s an accident (or a UFO sighting), in which case, it’s gold! The difference is that dashboard cams are cheap. Data collection is extremely expensive, yet expected without question. The “Dashboard Cam Effect” can be evident when we hear things like the following: Data Collection Dashboard Cam “Our data is collected, but never used again.” The dashboard camera is always on, but the video is never viewed. “Our million-dollar system is great at taking in data, but I...
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I had the opportunity to join Darryl and others at the NEHA Informatics meeting. As a long time local and State environmental heal... Read More
Tuesday, 09 February 2016 14:20
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Featured Customer: El Paso, Texas, Speeds Service and Centralizes Information across Multiple Departments

Featured Customer: El Paso, Texas, Speeds Service and Centralizes Information across Multiple Departments
There are so many powerful examples of local governments across the nation improving internal efficiencies while enhancing the way they deliver services to residents at the same time. The City of El Paso, Texas, demonstrates how governments can take advantage of the Accela Civic Platform across multiple departments to improve efficiencies and get everyone on the same page. In El Paso, more than 26 municipal departments were struggling with manual, paper-laden processes. Slow response times to citizen requests and complaints, delayed permit and license applications and approvals, and backlogged caseloads were just the beginning. The Environmental Services Department (ESD) was in the process of implementing the Accela Civic Platform, which was catching the attention of other departments. It soon became the main solution that would help address many of the City’s operational challenges and position it as a service and technology leader. Now, the City has traded the chaos of...
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Reflections and Predictions: How 2015 Successes Position Us to Capitalize on the Year Ahead

Reflections and Predictions: How 2015 Successes Position Us to Capitalize on the Year Ahead
Without a doubt, 2015 was Accela’s biggest year to date. In February, we announced new funding — bringing us just north of $233 million invested in the business. We’re using the latest round to continue growing the Accela family through acquisitions and partnerships, while investing in building an even stronger Civic Platform. Building on six announced acquisitions in 2014 ( Decade Software , Government Outreach , Kinsail , Envista , IQM2 , GeoTMS ), we established our productivity and civic engagement platform as unparalleled in the industry, adding Springbrook Software , SoftRight and PublicStuff in Spring 2015. We’re now laser-focused on efficiently integrating these stellar technologies into the core infrastructure of the Accela Civic Platform. In October, we proudly released Civic Platform 8.0 , offering a responsive and carefully crafted user interface that reinvents the way government workers interact with residents and meet their daily goals. In 2015, Accela’s customer...
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2015: The Year in Building Permits

2015: The Year in Building Permits
2015 was a big year for building permits. This year, Accela led a coalition of civic technology companies and other stakeholders in the development of the first ever shared data specification for building permit data . This new standard is being implemented in cities across the country and will provide new and powerful insights into the operation of cities and the changing character of communities. To demonstrate the power of this new standard, we’re updating our year-end building permit review web app from last year to showcase four jurisdictions that are now publishing data in the new Building and Land Development Specification (BLDS) format. You can view our updated building permit review application here . This is a remarkably simple application – built with open source components and hosted on GitHub . But it provides some useful insights into the permitting activities of these four jurisdictions. For example, while permit...
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The Mobile Citizen: Accela, the Construct API and...Lasagna? (Part 3 of 4)

The Mobile Citizen: Accela, the Construct API and...Lasagna? (Part 3 of 4)
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This is the third post in a series on "The Mobile Citizen," a look at how the Civic Platform is helping agencies of all sizes engage their mobile citizens and stay ahead of the "mobile mind shift." ------ Wednesdays in the New York City office means a rotating assortment of cuisines for team lunch (follow @dshaeffbk for the occasional #foodtweet). Typically we gather to talk about work, upcoming weekend plans, sports, movies, anything really. Every now and then new faces will spice things up. Earlier this month, Mark Headd and Seth Axthelm from our technical evangelist team were visiting. They work to enable, support, educate and innovate with Accela partners and customers to expand the Civic Platform. The lunch gave Mark and Amir Reavis-Bey, a co-founder of Civic Insight, the chance to catch up between bites of lasagna. As I eavesdropped on their conversation I realized that Mark and Amir's...
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You Can Build Your Own Mobile App without Writing a Single Line of Code. (Yes, You.)

You Can Build Your Own Mobile App without Writing a Single Line of Code. (Yes, You.)
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One of the favorite things about my job is that I’m focused on how to make our customers’ lives easier. So I’m particularly excited to share the news of Accela’s partnership with APPCityLife, the grand prize winner of our Civic App Challenge earlier this year. Why am I so excited? While it’s great to hear stories about government agencies using mobile apps to increase efficiencies and connect directly to their citizens, it’s still a daunting prospect. Creating a mobile app often requires a) someone who majored in Computer Science and has mastered multiple, complex programming languages and b) a great deal of time and money to get an app up and running. Not anymore. Government agencies across North America (and Accela customers, of course) can now create and manage their own mobile apps in record time — in days versus weeks or months — without having to write a single...
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