By Kelly Delaney on Thursday, 11 August 2016
Category: Events

Accela Engage Series: Q&A with Jana Sanders, Informatics Director for Fort Wayne-Allen County, Indiana

With nearly 20 years of public service experience, Jana Sanders guides the technological needs of the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health, where she serves as the Informatics Director. This is her first time presenting at Engage.

What are you most looking forward to at Engage 2016?
Learning new and innovative ways to leverage technology to promote community engagement utilizing Accela.

What do you hope to learn at Engage 2016?
More in-depth features of the Accela Civic Platform and Accela Citizen Access that will aid in process improvement and strengthen communication both internally and externally. We are always looking for ways to better utilize Accela and technology to streamline processes and increase efficiencies, so I am eager to learn new tools and techniques.

What are you presenting on this year at Engage?
My session, “Providing Inspection Results to Citizens,” is about how the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health created an interactive website that was developed to provide historical inspection results for all of our Department’s permitted establishments. This includes food establishments, public swimming pools and spas, hotel/motel establishments, and tattoo and body piercing establishments.

What interested you about presenting at Engage?
I am really excited about how great this website turned out and how easy it is to use. I wanted to share with others what we were able to create using Accela’s data as the backbone. The conference pass didn’t hurt either, as without that, budget restraints would have prevented me from attending.

What do you hope attendees get out of your session?
Accela holds a wealth of information that can be used for public engagement.

How does your presentation reflect this year's tagline of “Where Civic Tech Connects?”
It is the epitome of it! We have taken the back-end, unsexy part of our job, inspections, which would typically be very boring and possibly confusing to the general public, and made it easy to see a large amount of pertinent data, quickly. The website gives the public an opportunity to make smart, healthy choices about establishments they patronize, thus connecting “civic” with “technology.” It also aids us with our efforts to be as transparent as possible to our constituents.What are your top challenges right now?Trying to improve processes and leverage technology amongst budget constraints and limited time.

What initiatives are you focused on in the next year?

Within our enterprise, other Departments are already utilizing Accela Citizen Access (ACA). Due to the complexity of our Department, we have not made any of our records active within ACA. In the next year, we would like to change that to improve engagement with our permitted establishments and leverage the technology to meet them where they are rather than making them come to us.

How is technology changing the way Fort Wayne-Allen County does business and engages citizens?
Technology is making the data more readily available to both internal staff, establishment operators and the public. The implementation of Accela within our enterprise has allowed different departments that typically operated in silos to more easily interact and partner with one another by improving communication. In particular, the ability to create notifications has streamlined communication, especially when an address is a known problem or has a floodplain issue.

For more information about Accela Engage, visit the conference website.

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