savings for county government. Also, in helping a pregnant woman ensure her baby is delivered at full term, the baby is less likely to suffer any preterm problems.

The 10-month pilot started in February 2005 and extended its December 2005 deadline to June 2006 to work out the bugs in the document conversions to the tablets, Macchione said.

A Web-based rollout of the online referral system, to be accessible to all public-health nurses in the county, is scheduled for Sept. 1, 2006. Costs will be recouped in the next fiscal year, and the agency expects to save $2 million a year thereafter.

Macchione said the pilot program will later be expanded to widespread tablet use and the county will look into deploying similar applications in other departments.

"We are still working on them," Roche said of the inevitable bugs. "But with technology, there is always something that comes up."