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7 Pounds and 13 Ounces of Prevention

System helps state make prenatal and newborn screening more accessible


A state that took great pride in disease prevention found itself ranked among the worst for prenatal and newborn screening. It turned to Deloitte Consulting LLP for a cutting-edge information system to screen and track test results. With the system in place, the state went from tracking four diseases to tracking 76 diseases and genetic defects, making it possible to address many problems through early care. Policymakers say the state is saving $39 for every $1 spent on testing.

The Challenge

The state considered itself a leader in prenatal and newborn testing, and in the late 1970s was the first to integrate the two onto a single platform. But after two decades of limited development, the state found its system lagging far behind the latest medical practices. An annual report by the March of Dimes ranked the system among the worst in the nation. At the same time, private companies were pressuring the legislature to privatize the screening and testing process.

How We Helped

State agencies responsible for prenatal and newborn testing remained committed to the idea that these services should remain in the public domain and be available to everyone– not just to those who can afford them. Deloitte Consulting won the engagement because we addressed the problem from every angle –not just as a system implementation. We helped the client with all aspects of system design and deployment, from architecture and network design to integration, testing, training and data warehousing. The system went live on schedule and immediately put the state back among the leaders of genetic disease screening. The new system is able to track 76 different types of diseases and genetic defects, increasing by more than 80 percent the number of problems that are detected and treated.


  • Focus on business issues, not just on system deployment.
  • Government agencies, with the right support, can be just as effective as private-sector companies.
  • Working together, the public and private sector can achieve significant accomplishments.

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