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Public Statements

Issue Position: Information Technology

Issue Position

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Location: Unknown

Technology holds many promises of productivity that will advance Colorado’s economic recovery and provide us with a competitive edge for future growth. Where technology improves productivity, we can also do more to educate our kids, provide better health care, improve efficiency in services, and attract, retain and support businesses; all of which directly benefits the citizens of Colorado.

Key Priorities

* Control costs, share services and increase efficiencies.
* Increase Broadband accessibility in State to 50%.
* Link Economic Development, Education, Healthcare and Technology policies.
* Expand Broadband and Fourth Generation (4G) Technologies statewide.

"Colorado is already recognized as a leader in technology in many areas from aerospace to bioscience and information and telecommunications. It's time to take the next step and move Colorado toward global competitiveness." - John Hickenlooper

Background
Information technology (IT) serves a critical function in the State, allowing state agencies to deliver services to Colorado's five million citizens and its dynamic and diverse business community. For this reason, coordinated, optimized, and modernized information and communication technologies are essential to successfully meet the needs of Coloradans and execute state and federal legislative mandates. Further, fiscal and budgetary constraints demand that services are provided cost effectively.

Over the past 40 months, the State Office of Information Technology (OIT), using the Colorado Consolidation Plan (C2P) as a road map, completed the development of a consolidated enterprise that supports the State to optimize spending for IT decisions, projects and technology; improve enterprise service delivery; and allows for the rapid deployment of innovative IT solutions. We have the opportunity to leverage the newly minted bipartisan arsenal of legislative tools to advance a bold technology transformation agenda for the entire state.
Solutions & Strategies

Controlling Costs & Increasing Efficiencies: By efficiently organizing governmental services and operations, the next administration can meet the demands of its customers and provide a superior level of service throughout the state. Making government operations run efficiently will be a top priority and there are key areas where we will initially focus our efforts.

* Review Existing Leased Space: According to the most recent state released report, Colorado leases over 3.5 million square feet of space from the private sector. We can start by identifying where opportunities for remote work may be an option and employing GIS data to create a layer of all leased space to readily identify facilities that could be co-located, reduced, or eliminated. For every 5% reduction in leased space (30,000 square feet) Colorado saves $40,950 a month.
* Energy Use Buildings: Colorado is a large purchaser of energy. Technology exists that allows State buildings to be outfitted with monitors that track energy consumption by type of service (appliances, HVAC, and lighting) online. By using this technology and making the data available to facilities, we can employ management practices that allow for reduced energy consumption and increased savings. We will also continue to actively pursue grants available through the U.S. Department of Energy and other sources to fund these monitors.
* Shared Services: Shared services allow us to improve efficiencies by sharing common functions such as human resources and information technologies. We have always been a strong proponent of identifying areas where shared services can increase efficiencies and reduce costs. The next administration should examine opportunities across the State to bring more shared services to government in areas such as healthcare, broadband technologies and education. Shared services are critical to improving citizen access and input.

Healthcare Technologies: Health information technology (HIT) is a critical tool to improve the quality and efficiency of heath care, health outcomes and job creation. Projections estimate approximately 50 thousand new HIT jobs in the next five years in the U.S. as a result of national health reform. Health IT improves access to healthcare services in rural areas through solutions that enable remote consultations and diagnosis. It also increases convenience for health consumers while reducing errors through solutions such as electronic-prescriptions. This technology allows individuals to ultimately control their own health information through electronic personal health records.

The Colorado Regional Health Information Organization (CORHIO) in partnership with Quality Health Network (QHN) on the Western Slope is the designated entity for managing electronic health records for the State. More recently, CORHIO was awarded $22 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for health information exchange (HIE) in Colorado.

* In collaboration with CORHIO, we will identify increased care opportunities and lower costs in Colorado.
* We will use and expand data through the Medicaid Management Information system to establish a State sponsored electronic medical record system for Medicaid patients.
* By using the database system already in place, Colorado will effectively create a system whereby Medicaid providers would have access to patient information thereby reducing costs associated with redundant testing procedures and prescriptions.

There are a series of key policy issues involving HIT that we believe are important for us to consider:

* Overall cost savings from the widespread implementation of HIT are estimated to be $261 billion nationwide over the next ten years. With public spending comprising approximately 50% of all healthcare costs, this represents a significant savings to the citizens of Colorado. We will work to access federal government incentives and grants as part of HIT implementation.
* The Quality Health Network (QHN) on the Western Slope is a model for how technology can improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare and will be leveraged to secure new federal funding for innovative approaches for implementation. We would support the strategic expansion of such models to improve efficiencies and innovations statewide.
* Through our higher education community, we will continue to harness HIT job opportunities as an engine of economic growth in Colorado, capitalizing on Colorado's innovative spirit and talented citizens.
* We will support the designation of federal funding to assist and guide all healthcare providers in Colorado with evaluation and adoption of appropriate technologies. This work assures that all healthcare providers and patients in Colorado benefit from technology-related improvements in the healthcare system.
* We will continue to advocate for federal funding opportunities that improve rural health in Colorado such as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) telemedicine project currently being implemented by the Colorado Tele-health Network.

Increase Accessibility of Broadband in Colorado to 50%: Broadband or High-Speed Internet is vital in today's society and is a key aspect to creating new jobs in Colorado. In our personal, professional, and social lives the Internet is increasingly relied upon for everyday as well as complex tasks. The Pew Center on the States recently released a report stating "Once considered a convenience, access to broadband Internet service has crossed the threshold to necessity. As increasing number of business, government and personal interactions move online, Americans who lack reliable, affordable, high-speed Internet connections may be left behind." We agree and understand broadband is foundational to delivering governmental services more efficiently, reliably, and cost effectively. Whether is it healthcare delivered to the home, video feeds transmitted to public safety officials, driving an innovative economy, or allowing new teaching methods broadband has an integral role to play and we need to ensure Colorado is positioned with enough capacity and accessibility for our needs today and tomorrow.

The most recent available state mapping shows only 33 percent of the state's geography is covered. We are committed to increasing the accessibility of broadband to 50 percent of the state and will work with schools, libraries, and other community entities to increase digital literacy programs so the number of subscribers increases as well.

Deploying more broadband will not be an easy task, but anything worth doing is rarely easy. To increase the availability of broadband we will work with the Legislature, the Public Utilities Commission, members of my executive team, local leaders, and other interested stakeholders to investigate options and develop successful programs and policies to fulfill this pledge. Other states have initiatives we can learn from and should examine, these programs include retooling telecommunication regulations, allowing governmental entities to offer service if the private providers are unable or unwilling to, creating "dig once" policies (installation of broadband channels such that fiber can be filled in later), revamping the state's grant programs to encourage broadband deployment and adoption in rural areas, and creating an environment where creativity is fostered and broadband is a priority investment.

Fourth Generation (4G) Technologies: 4G is the fourth generation of cellular wireless standards. It is the successor to 3G, with the aim to provide a wide range of data rates up to ultra-broadband internet access to mobile and stationary users which enables faster connection, downloads, and functionality. Broadband (or high speed internet) is considered the "new" utility of the 21st Century and all states are working to expand broadband access. Colorado can be a leader in ensuring that the public can access their service providers throughout the State. A Hickenlooper administration will use its physical assets (buildings, state lands, radio towers) to make mobile service available to as many citizens, educational institutions, healthcare agencies, and government service organizations as possible. We will develop a strategy for broadband deployment and access using existing and new resources at the State.

To advance Colorado's vibrant technological business environment and to promote Colorado's leading economic growth and job generation segment, we will examine the opportunities available to us to implement a fourth generation communication broadband/high speed network (4G) that is universally available for all Colorado citizens, businesses, education institutions, healthcare providers, and government services. Deploying 4G in Colorado is a progressive step in positioning the state in the forefront of technological expertise.

* 4G integrates with the wire-line network currently established to provide universal Internet access.
* 4G will enhance the vitality of the business environment and focus attention on Colorado's commitment to its technological environment.
* The Federal Communications Commission is active in 4G and can partner with Colorado to support implementation.
* Colorado will also engage its private sector with mobile service providers and hardware to assemble the most competent and knowledgeable talent for the planning and deployment of 4G.

Education & Technology: The Colorado Department of Education (CDE), working in collaboration with OIT, the Governor's Office of Policy and Initiatives, and the Colorado Departments of Higher Education, Human Services, Labor and Employment, proposes to build a state longitudinal data system that meets the demands of the state's ground-breaking P-20 education reform agenda. We envision a flexible P-20 information and knowledge management system that will better equip users to manage and use information for informed decision making and will enhance postsecondary and workforce success.

* In May 2010 Colorado was awarded a $17.4 million U.S. Department of Education grant to develop this Education State Longitudinal Data System.
* We will leverage these resources to improve and build on the quality and affordability of P20 education in the State of Colorado.
* Standardizing data for better sharing is good as evidenced via HB1028 (Early Childhood Universal Application), HB1285 (Government Data Sharing), HB1364 (Interdepartmental Data), and SB155 (Centralize IT). It is critical that we advance our collaborative efforts with these legislative actions.


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