Computerworld Honors 2013: Tech projects that are changing the world

These organizations are using technology to solve some of society's most pressing and complex issues.

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Human Services

Organization Project Name Project Achievements  
Community Plates Community Plates' "Go Rescue" Technology Powered by WhenToManage

Nonprofit organization that distributes surplus food from grocers and restaurants to agencies serving hungry individuals uses Web-based mobile Go Rescue App to enable self-serve volunteer management system, reducing overhead costs and speeding food deliveries

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21st Century Award winner
Sahana Software Foundation Sahana Software Foundation Projects Sahana develops free and open-source software and provides services for disaster response coordination between governments, aid organizations, civil society and survivors, enabling those affected to better prepare for and respond to disasters Finalist
Watsi Watsi Launch Crowd-funding website connects donors willing to fund medical care for patients in poor regions and medical partners willing to offer critical health services to such patients around the world Nominated by BestIT Finalist
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare Medical Assistance Provider Incentive Repository A 13-state collaborative deploys a Web-based application that integrates with existing state systems to allow eligible Medicaid providers to complete applications for federal HITECH Act incentive payments and receive payments through existing financial systems Finalist
Secretaria de Educacion de Medellin, Colombia Digital Transformation of Education Program uses desktop virtualization software to deliver cost-effective educational applications across 40,000 student and teacher desktops in 441 schools, helping to improve students' IT skills as well as build skills students need to better engage in their communities Finalist
Airbnb Airbnb Response to Hurricane Sandy Airbnb website connects people displaced by Hurricane Sandy with hosts able to provide free housing, allowing hosts to list their places online for free; more than 1,400 listings appeared on the company's Sandy list
Allegheny County Department of Human Services (ACDHS) Data Systems to Support an Integrated Human Services Model Across Allegheny County Deployment of new technologies lead to streamlined business processes, improved collaboration among ACDHS and other government agencies, and reduced costs, ultimately improving service delivery for Allegheny County citizens
American Student Assistance SALT Nonprofit organization responds to escalating student debt with membership program featuring multichannel integrated services combining online educational tools and mobile applications with outreach and counseling; empowers individuals to manage and repay loans and build financial competencies
Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada Project Phoenix New customer relationship management system streamlines workflow and builds better connections among agencies, freeing staff from administrative tasks so they can focus on finding the right match for thousands of youths waiting for mentors
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Group: Informatics Research & Development Activity (IRDA), Public Health Surveillance & Informatics Program Office, Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services (OSELS) Public Health Informatics Research Cloud Secure private cloud creates safe environment for IRDA researchers to test different technologies and approaches, enabling agility and rapid deployment of new technologies that support CDC's core missions
ChildFund International Office in a Box WAN optimization gives employees and volunteers near-instant access to critical applications, speeds communication, enables easy setup of operations at new locations, and gives agency flexibility and scalability for future applications and services
CredAbility Interactive Case Management (iCM) New workforce management, call recording and performance management software, along with new customer relationship management system, promotes effective communications and highquality interactions with clients as well as more efficiency to reduce operational costs
Employment Development Department (EDD) State of California Disability Insurance Automation (DIA) One of the most complex technology transformations undertaken by EDD, new State Disability Insurance Online System (SDI Online) automates the nation's largest state disability insurance program, improving claims processing and fraud detection while reducing costs
Feeding America Feeding More People by Leveraging Mobile Technology to Improve Distribution Efficiency Deployment of SAP/Syclo Mobile Platform enables drivers transporting food to electronically capture data on mobile devices and send the information into the back-end system, reducing the time and effort involved in moving food to people
Ford Motor Co. Sustainable Urban Mobility with Uncompromised Rural Reach (SUMURR) Project explores ways to use IT-equipped vehicles to improve services in four critical areas of need in rural communities: healthcare, delivery of potable water, primary education and renewable energy
HCA IT&S Information Technology Sarah Cannon Cancer Navigation Specialized healthcare professionals called patient navigators guide cancer patients through treatments; HCA IT&S's Cancer Navigation application consolidates medical data associated with patients' care into one system to aid their work and encourage use of best practices
International Rescue Committee (IRC) International Rescue Committee Hybrid solution combines traditional colocation features alongside managed services, giving IRC flexibility to build out its infrastructure on the fly and roll out new applications to field workers; creates foundation to bring modern communications technologies to less developed regions
Interservicios Limitada SIGMA-V Software enables institutions to characterize and register aid provided to victims of armed conflict in Colombia, giving the institutions the ability to target services and measure the impact of aid so they can best focus their resources
Maricopa County MCESA and OET MCESA IVL and Electronic Assessments Interactive video learning for students as well as teachers combined with electronic assessments make up the three parts of this project, which aims to use technology to increase student academic progress, achievement and success
Microsoft Research Adjusting Pneumonia Vaccination Periods to Save Lives Modified version of software developed to support cancer research now helps track data and associated details as Oxford Vaccine Group's HimalayaHelp program tries to determine if changing childhood pneumonia vaccination schedules can protect children longer and save lives
MITRE Center for Veterans Enterprise Transformation Eliminate Veteran Homelessness (EVH) EVH is a new computational model that leverages an internal high-performance computing cluster to reduce runtime to minutes, allowing a new level of insight into managing the Veterans Administration's interdependent programs
OneCommunity Connect Your Community Program focusing on teaching digital literacy skills to low-income populations uses national and local partnerships, curriculum and technologies tailored to local and individual needs along with other innovations to train more than 33,000 individuals to date
Parsons Emergency Response to the Impact of Hurricane Sandy to NYCDEP's Facilities Construction management services incorporate IT solutions, including phone cameras and a Web portal, to provide real-time communication and mobilization, helping the New York City Department of Environmental Protection quickly restore services after Hurricane Sandy submerged wastewater treatment plants
Secure Telehealth Sustainable Telemedicine for Mentally Ill in Rural Idaho Videoconferencing technology for ordinary PCs that uses innovative software, high-definition webcams and specialized microphones provides interaction similar to more expensive specialized equipment, enabling the rural health agency to provide mental health telemedicine services at affordable costs
Sense Corp. Wyman TOPnet Online To build and expand its Teen Outreach Program (TOP), Wyman turns to Sense Corp. for a Web-based application that automates a survey feedback process, sets up an online collaborative environment and further advances partner organizations' ability to evaluate the program's impact
The Smith Family Learning for Life Upgraded customer relationship management system streamlines organization's administrative activities, allowing staff more time to work on programming and ultimately provide more disadvantaged children with more consistent support
Thresholds Thresholds' Mobile Technology Initiative SafeBook laptops, Air Cards and Verizon Wireless subscriptions improve services for homeless mentally ill individuals by providing caseworkers with secure access to the agency's applications, giving the workers more time and resources to focus on clients
U.S. Census Bureau Census Bureau Open Data API Application programming interface gives developers inside and outside the Census Bureau easy Web access to a single pipeline of census data, with full flexibility and control over which data variables to request and receive without the need to create copies
Youth Policy Institute YPI Educational Technology (Ed Tech) Focused on closing the city's digital divide, program brings broadband access and training to underserved groups through public computer centers and educational programs; since 2010, YPI Ed Tech has deployed 1,716 computers and provided 484,031 training hours

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