Date of this Version
The recent outbreak of raccoon rabies in New York State during a period of unprecedented fiscal constraints presents an emerging organizational dilemma—how to handle increasing demands for services in an environment of diminishing resources. As one response to this need, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) is developing an interactive computer system for integrating public education, professional training and public/professional communication. The basic objective is to enhance consumer access to information regarding rabies, Lyme disease and other public health issues; thereby, forming the basis for prevention. In essence, this effort can be classified as an “educational intervention,” the essential component in any successful program of integrated pest management. The system is comprised of networked computer kiosks distributed statewide in convenient locations to maximize public or professional access. Hardware for each kiosk includes a Macintosh computer, modem, and printer. Each kiosk provides a common database via a series of interactive files regarding biological and disease management information, and with various levels of multimedia development (text, audio, animation, and video). In addition, kiosks provide a directory of government regulations, publications and services, including geographically defined data. The user can rapidly gather information from a variety of on-board kiosk resources, and can also electronically mail or fax specific queries to appropriate authorities elsewhere. The system is designed to achieve ultimate flexibility, utility and relevancy while being informative and entertaining.