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Telework Gives FEMA a Helping Hand

June 19, 2013 at 9:21 am PST

For one week this last March, hundreds of thousands of workers from around the world made the commitment to telework. This year’s Telework Week resulted in a 91 percent increase in involvement in 2011, with more than 130,000 total pledges! These record numbers really show the momentum of telework in both the public and private sector. And speaking of public sector -- 82 percent of this year’s pledges came from federal employees.

One agency in particular saw resounding success from the initiative -- the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA’s goal to prepare for and respond fast to natural disasters and mobilize massive resources as needed makes it vital for the agency to be mobile. So FEMA has embraced an expansive mobility initiative including an increased focus on telework. During this year’s Telework Week, 3,300 of FEMA’s 5,500 full-time employees logged more than 46,000 hours of telework. Read More »

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Cloud for Local Government Global Blog Series: Connecting “The Last Frontier”…

March 21, 2013 at 8:18 am PST

While Alaska is the largest state, it’s the least densely populated. With local government agencies and departments dispersed across more than 600,000 square miles, creating a reliable and efficient statewide IT infrastructure is no easy feat.

When Corey Kos became the state of Alaska’s enterprise architect in 2010, he set out on a mission to create an infrastructure that would deliver IT services via private cloud, reducing overall expenses and allowing Alaska’s government employees to work efficiently. Three years later Kos has exceeded his objectives and successfully connected ‘The Last Frontier.’ Read More »

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Extreme Weather Ramps up Need for Federal Teleworking

February 26, 2013 at 11:55 am PST

From super storms to snow storms, the U.S. has experienced its share of extreme winter weather over the past few months -- evidenced today by the revelations from my family in #Snowklahoma. The damage left by recent blizzards, Hurricane Sandy and the Nemo Storm has businesses and residents rethinking ways to ensure continuity during severe weather.

For government agencies, businesses and even schools in some cases, teleworking (or telecommuting) is a popular solution that allows continuity of operations (COOP) while keeping employees out of harm’s way during natural disasters. In contrast to the Yahoo announcement today, many agencies, organizations and teams rely on telework to keep employee productivity high regardless of weather, travel delays or other conditions. Read More »

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City Turns to Collaboration Solutions to Support Mobility

February 14, 2013 at 4:00 am PST

As we quickly approach Telework Week 2013 in March, I’ve been hearing a lot of discussion around the benefits of telework and the level of growth we have seen over the last few years in the demand for mobility.

Mobility is sometimes easier said than done, though, especially when you are a city government looking at bandwidth increases and potential infrastructure upgrades all while providing employees with a seamless virtual experience and avoiding any downtime in the process. This is exactly what the City of Jacksonville, NC did, and they are setting an example for other cities in similar situations.

The City of Jacksonville home to more than 70,000 residents and currently has more than  500 end users in its operations center that is supported by the city’s Information Technology Services (ITS) department. As the employees became more dependent on the ITS department, the department decided it needed to refresh its current infrastructure. Read More »

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Telehealth Takes Center Stage

January 31, 2013 at 9:43 am PST

As my colleagues just wrapped up participating in the 2-day World Congress Telehealth Executive Summit and are preparing for the 6th Annual Community for Connected Health Summit at HIMSS13, I’ve been thinking even more about telehealth technology and how far it has come since my first exposure to it almost almost thirteen years ago.

The technology has made amazing strides, and with healthcare costs on the rise, it’s no surprise government agencies and other organizations are looking to the technology to curb health costs while increasing the efficiency and quality of care.

Telehealth technologies, such as Cisco’s HealthPresence (and version 2.5, just announced this month), can increase access to specialized care and allow medical specialists to conduct virtual consultations. By leveraging technologies and solutions like Unified Workspace and cloud, telehealth has real potential to transform the delivery of healthcare.

Realizing the power of connected healthcare, House Representative Mike Thompson introduced a telehealth bill in late December. If passed, Telehealth Promotion Act of 2012 could extend telehealth benefits to more than 75 million Americans by removing two existing barriers--licensure and reimbursements.

…and the support for telehealth keeps going.

The Federal Communications Commission recently announced that it will allocate $400 million a year to expand existing telehealth pilot program. The funds will help increase connectivity between urban medical centers and rural clinics to better coordinate care and lower costs among other benefits.

With more organizations realizing the potential of telehealth technologies, it’s clear we may soon see it take center stage. Where do you see telehealth having the greatest impact on government and the public sector?

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