Innovative use of ICTs for effective service delivery

Winner: KwaZulu-Natal department of health, telemedicine (teleradiology) project
First runner up: Gauteng department of trade and industry, chief financial officer helpdesk
Second runner up: Gauteng StatsSA, iPad app
Third runner up: KwaZulu-Natal treasury, biometric access control system

Project Name: Tele-medicine (Tele-radiology)
Organisation: KwaZulu-Natal department of health
Province: KwaZulu-Natal

There are few or no specialist neurosurgeons or radiologists employed at public hospitals, especially in the rural areas of the province, despite numerous forms of advertisements to attract suitable, qualified personnel.

Emergency patients, such as head trauma cases, who urgently require specialist treatment have to be transported by ambulance to Nkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital in Durban.

The travelling distance may be as much as 350km, which compromises healthcare quality for emergency patients.

The teleradiology programme provides specialised radiological services in hospitals, particularly in rural areas, and provides mentorships to district hospitals.

Innovation: Emergency radiological images are sent electronically from a rural hospital to a central hospital.

Radiology reports are sent through ISDN or ADSL networks (no longer by transport) and are received by specialists in Durban on the same day.

The following hospitals are electronically linked to the Nkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital:
• Madadeni Hospital (350km north of Durban)
• Ngwelezane Hospital (170km north of Durban)
• Ladysmith Hospital (240km north of Durban)
• Grey’s Hospital (80km north of Durban)
• Stanger Hospital (71km north of Durban
• Port Shepstone (120km south of Durban)

This innovation has made a specialised healthcare service available to rural and underserved areas.

Project Name: CFO helpdesk
Organisation: Department of trade and industry
Province: Gauteng

The CFO management identified the need to have a centralised point of access to record and track financial and supply chain management transactions and to enhance staff productivity.

The CFO helpdesk is an adaption of a system purchased by the office of the chief information officer for case management.

It improved and enhanced service delivery to internal and external customers such as staff, creditors, incentive claimants and other departments.

Innovation: The project has set a standard within national and provincial departments to exceed the timeframes for creditor payments, as determined by the Public Finance Management Act.

An integrated system was implemented whereby all financial and supply chain functions are being managed in a cost effective manner. These include:
• Recording all enquiries and transactions (referred to as case studies);
• Assigning cases to specific skilled staff;
• Handling responses within predetermined turnaround times;
• Tracking the status of all recorded transactions;
• System-generated “early warnings” are issued via email when transactions reach 75% of their allowed turnaround times;
• Provision for escalation processes to supervisors and managers;
• Comprehensive system reports that provide management with an analysis of transactions and response handling.

Project Name: Statistics South Africa iPad app
Organisation: Statistics South Africa
Province: Gauteng

Statistics South Africa has been tasked by Minister in the National Planning Commission Trevor Manuel to use innovative ways to disseminate data to the public.

Stats SA produces a variety of publications and disseminates the information in various formats. The formats range from simple data graphs to advanced formats.

The different formats are aimed at different users within the data community, from the novice users to the technical data miners.

One of the gaps identified in the dissemination channels was mobile device users.

These users typically have a smartphone or tablet that has permanent internet connectivity through 3G networks or wi-fi.

The Stats SA iPad app project was then initiated to disseminate data to smartphones and tablets where citizens could access Stats SA data that has interactive graphs and narrations.

Innovation: Statistics SA is the first statistical agency in the world to have implemented a solution that makes available an application for disseminating statistical data through tablets in an interactive and user-friendly method.

Policy makers, researchers and academics can access the data on their devices. Users need to install the app on their device and once installed, new interactive publications are downloaded once off on the user’s device.

The app is targeted at politicians, planners, economists and government officials and will change as the project evolves and grows.

Project Name: Biometric Access control System
Organisation: KZN Provincial Treasury
Province: KwaZulu-Natal

The growth of IT and process digitisation within the public sector has created more expectations in several key areas, including preserving the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information assets.

However, with the unprecedented growth of technology use also comes an increase in system abuse and fraudulent activities.

In an effort to combat these types of criminal activities, KwaZulu-Natal treasury has implemented a solution that not only creates visibility of suspicious activity within a fully auditable biometric solution, but allows us to associate an individual with undeniable electronic proof that can only make the judicial process simpler.

The project prevents unauthorised people from accessing the PERSAL and BAS through the use of fingerprint biometrics and institutes accountability for authorised users so that the innocent people could not be implicated in cases of electronic fraud.

Innovation: The solution provides an automated secure digital signing of context-sensitive transactions and stores the audit trial data in an evidence vault for future use.

The solution is comparatively more advanced than other biometric solutions. More than that, it has been designed to address the requirements of the ECT Act.

Other solutions rely purely on fingerprint minutia to authenticate to the application and biometrically re-authenticate when sensitive transactions are performed.

The eDNA solution implemented for KwaZulu-Natal Treasury uses a secure smartcard to store the user’s digital identity information and PKI credentials and when the user wants to authorise a sensitive transaction the user uses his or her fingerprint to unlock a smartcard on which a PKI digital signature is stored.

This digital signature is then automatically used by the system to digitally sign the transaction with the user’s X.509 compliant digital certificate and the transaction is then sealed and stored centrally in the evidence vault whereafter the app completes the transaction.

The system records a trail of changes as effected by the user. The date and time of the transaction is also recorded into the evidence through an RFC 3613 Time Stamping Authority for accurate evidence.

The solution serves as an independent referee in transactions across platforms and thus provides a common platform service for instituting strong authentication and people accountability across departments, networks, platforms and applications in a consistent manner.

This article forms part of a supplement paid for by the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI). Contents and photographs were supplied and signed off by CPSI

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