Taking advantage of software-based solutions like FastTrackGov® (FTG) for environmental health helps communities and their employees prepare for a better future.
Current Environmental Health Issues and What They Mean for Communities
Aside from the overarching threats of climate change and global warming, communities are facing a range of concrete environmental health issues right here on the ground.
As America continues to produce the second-largest amount of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide, beaten only by China, air pollution remains one of the biggest environmental health issues.
Water-related concerns are not far behind. Water shortages and water pollution make licensing of septic tanks and sewers more important than ever before, especially in drought-affected states like California, New Mexico, and Texas, to name just a few.
Threats from wildfires continue with a direct influence on air quality and the livelihood of entire communities. Food waste and plastic pollution also make the list of the greatest environmental health threats facing our country in 2023.
How do these issues relate to municipalities? Addressing many of them begins at a local level with the enforcement of existing rules and regulations for permitting and licensing. Managing these processes as efficiently as possible helps municipalities prepare for environmental health threats. Using technology, including specifically designed software packages, is essential to the streamlining of these procedures.
How FTG’s Environmental Health Software Can Support Municipalities
FTG was developed with the needs of municipalities in mind. Working within local government traditionally involved considerable paperwork. Meeting citizens and businesses for permit applications and processing those requests often involved lengthy communications between different departments.
Employees had to devote time to meetings, follow up for missing information, and consult colleagues in other departments to deal with the requests of residents and local companies. These processes could be time-consuming and inefficient for applicants and local governments alike. Plus, there was always a risk of information being lost or having to be duplicated between departments, making sensitive information more vulnerable to unauthorized access.
FTG community development software has allowed hundreds of communities across the United States to embrace digital transformation and has revolutionized the way these communities address administrative work. Municipalities are not only working more efficiently, but employees can be more productive and devote more time to direct customer service as opposed to repetitive administrative tasks.
FTG environmental health software has been developed specifically with the needs of environmental health officers and their departments in mind. Think of it as an extension of FTG that can help your community’s environmental health team work more efficiently for the benefit of the entire town or city.
Here are some of its benefits in greater detail.
Automating Licensing and Permits
Just like environmental health (EH) is a wide field on a global scale, municipality environmental health departments fulfill a wide range of roles for their communities. Dealing with licenses and permits is among the best-known and most time-consuming tasks for employees in environmental health departments.
EH officers and their colleagues process and register licenses for septic tanks and sewers for individuals and businesses. They also ensure that food establishments and local swimming pools comply with hygiene requirements. And, most municipalities require permits and licenses for the use of X-ray equipment and for massage therapists’ businesses.
FTG’s EH software changes the entire process, right from the moment of application. Rather than handing paperwork into the municipality, applicants submit their requests online, including supporting documentation. There is no need to make an appointment during office hours. Instead, submissions can be received 24/7.
Municipality employees review them during their working hours, with the ability to ask directly for additional information if it is needed.
Speed Up and Control Internal Processes
FTG’s EH software does more than add the convenience of submitting applications at any time. It also accelerates the processing and simplifies the supervision of internal municipality processes.
FTG EH makes it easy to share data between departments. Rather than turning departments into information silos, this environmental health software retains sensitive data in one place while making it easy to access for authorized parties. There is less risk of information being duplicated, lost, erroneously copied, or even breached.
FTG also accelerates communications between the individual stakeholders involved in licensing. Municipality staff, managers, applicants, and other relevant parties can review the status of an application at a glance or react to additional requests.
Once a permit or licensing application reaches the stage of approval, software packages like FTG make it easy to process even complex licensing fees and control and maximize the municipality’s revenues.
Assist with Code Enforcement
This software package automatically routes complaints to the relevant team or officer and creates a code enforcement case from an individual complaint.
Having said that, code enforcement officers tend to deal with more than complaints. They are responsible for environmental health inspections at a variety of businesses. FTG simplifies scheduling these inspections, whether they are related to first applications or renewals.
Your EH department will benefit from more effective and realistic planning, allowing inspectors to achieve more in the same amount of time.
Once inspections and site visits have been completed, inspectors can easily enter their findings into the software right from where they are in the field. There is no need to wait until inspectors are back in the office. The team can use downtime in the field efficiently and note violations or recommendations right at the inspection site.
Strengthen Online Connections Between the Municipality and Local Businesses and Citizens
Moving environmental health administration processes online helps bring municipalities closer to their citizens and local businesses. At first sight, this may seem contradictory, but the benefits become clear as soon as we take a closer look.
By moving much of the process online, one municipality employee can look after more inquiries and applications than they could handle if each involved several in-person meetings. Direct communication tools allow employees and applicants to communicate in real time, without needing to leave their respective locations. Compared to making appointments with different municipality representatives, online communications make it easier to build a productive working relationship.
Citizens and business owners can easily reach their municipality for permit and license applications, payments, and renewals. Restaurant owners can access restaurant scores and inspectors’ reports. In addition, relevant individuals and business owners also gain access to the details of complaints and requests or ask questions online.
FTG EH makes environmental health teams and officers far more easily accessible to their clients, building trust and strong relationships in the process.
Facilitate Integration with Microsoft Software Packages
As a software developer specializing in products for municipalities, Mitchell Humphrey & Co. understands the need for any new software to integrate with the most widely-used applications.
With one simple click, employees can export their data to Excel, saving hours of what would have been painstaking data transfer. Moreover, FTG EH is highly customizable. That means environmental health teams can create their own dashboards and reports with ease. Reporting results to the municipality leadership team becomes straightforward thanks to these features.
There is no time lost between receiving and processing information. Sharing of data is made possible in a safe and controlled manner, limiting the risk of any data loss or breaches.
Environmental health is likely to grow in importance for municipalities across the United States. Moving critical administrative processes online today allows communities to embrace their digital transformation, creates new paths of communication between local governments and their residents, and prepares municipalities for the future.