Last year, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) automated food safety inspections, "taking away clipboard, paper and pen and replacing them with a tablet," says Dan Egan of the state's Office of Administration.
The new system, PA Food Safety
, helps food businesses by leading to greater consistency, higher quality and faster inspections. The state also now publishes inspection results on a new public portal and uses geographic information system (GIS) software to enable food analysts to visualize contamination and to track and trace it to its source.
And PennDOT now has an online application process for highway occupancy permits
, allowing real estate developers, construction companies and others who need access to state roadways to get their permit in 10 days, instead of the old 30 to 45. Until only a year ago, permit applications were submitted by hand or mailed to PennDOT offices.
It is innovations like these that helped Pennsylvania make the "A" team – well, almost – in a new survey of progress made by state governments in their use of digital technologies. The Commonwealth earned an A-minus in the recent 2012 biennial survey, conducted by the Center for Digital Government
, a national research and advisory institute.
Smart states – and the smartest, according to the survey are Michigan and Utah – use technology to "realize operational efficiencies and strategic priorities," the Center says. They show evidence of meaningful collaboration, they adopt performance measures and metrics and they make cuts strategically.
Source: Dan Egan, Pennsylvania Office of Administration
Writer: Elise Vider