If state and local governments need proof that strategic partnerships can attract federal funding for smart technology, public officials might want to examine two community hospitals in a rural strip of northern Ohio.

Supported by federal stimulus funds, Fisher-Titus Medical Center in Norwalk, Ohio, and Magruder Hospital in Port Clinton, Ohio, plan to implement Cerner health-care technology systems in the next 10 months, a move that would put the two organizations among the first all-digital, smart hospitals in the nation.

These independent hospitals have been partnering for years, but this advanced automated technology, set to go live in April, would create an infrastructure that could eventually build a connected health network.

"From a patient perspective, we wanted to move toward a comprehensive, integrated solution," said John Britton, vice president of Information Services at Fisher-Titus and CIO consultant at Magruder.

The push for patients to participate in the care process echoes the latest efforts made by state and local governments to involve the public more in the government process. In the past few years, citizen demand has driven governments to publish public data sets, and community feedback has fueled innovation contests like Washington, D.C.'s Apps for Democracy.

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Russell Nichols  |  Staff Writer