In the 1980s and into the 1990s, most state information systems operated by or for state developmental disabilities (DD) authorities were mainframe systems, where the software, data, and processing all rested in one central computer. These were centralized systems run by the state. They were data-collection and reporting systems generally designed to meet the authority's system-level need for periodic census, consumer, service utilization, quality, and cost information. Data were submitted to these systems by state authorities and provider organizations (local agencies). They were submitted on paper, diskette, or through the transfer of an electronic file that conformed to strict data definitions and formatting standards. The data were often inaccurate and incomplete due to limited buy-in on the front-lines, insufficient system funding, and inadequate management, training, and quality control.

Over the past decade, mainframe systems have given way to (a) personal computer (PC) systems, where...

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