October 30, 2009 By Elaine Rundle
To help track H1N1 trends, Rhode Island health officials are receiving electronic prescription data to identify outbreaks based on age groups and ZIP codes. The state receives e-prescription data from retail pharmacies through an electronic link with Surescripts, an e-prescriptions network. State health officials view the data, which excludes personal information, to identify increases in Tamiflu prescriptions or other anti-viral medications.
Surescripts uses the pharmacies' data to report how much Tamiflu and other anti-virals are being dispensed to patients and categorizes the information by ZIP code and age group. The reports are sent to the state every two weeks and the data excludes personal information, said Amy Zimmerman, chief of health information technology for the Rhode Island Department of Health.
Go to Emergency Management's Web site to learn more about Rhode Island's use of e-prescription data to identify H1N1 trends.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.