Baton Rouge --- Technology is leading to faster fast food restaurant inspections. 

Inspection Tablet Facts

  • OPH sanitarians have conducted 5,415 inspections so far using this new technology

  • The electronic tablets with accessories cost $2,000 each

  • Each tablet setup includes a camera, printer and other peripheral devices

  • Florida and Arizona inspectors are using notebooks and smaller PDAs for restaurant inspections; however,Louisiana is the only state planning usage for all inspections

Starting this month, sanitarians working within the Department of Health – Office of Public Health will begin filing their inspection reports with handheld tablet PCs.

The three-pound tablets are about the size of a clipboard and feature a large display that shows a standard-sized inspection form. The tablets will deliver the sanitarians’ restaurant inspection reports in electronic form.

Previously, sanitarians had many paper forms to fill out after completing an inspection. With the new technology, all reporting will be done electronically and can be uploaded for instant viewing throughout the department. The new PCs contain specialized software that will allow for greater consistency in applying the Louisiana Sanitary Code and more standardized inspections by public health sanitarians. The electronic form contains a list of all possible sanitary code violations, which a sanitarian can check off during an inspection. There is a space on each form for the sanitarian to type in more details about the particular violation, if necessary. Previously, inspectors had to handwrite each violation on the form.

LDH Secretary David W. Hood said this technology will give public health workers much more control over their reporting process and will reduce the inspection time in facilities.

"This replaces an older method that relied on paper files and handwritten reports,” Hood said. “Today, we are better able to standardize our inspection reports and provide prompts for our workers to conduct timely follow ups. Another key benefit in this technology is the first step toward our agency partnering with the restaurant industry to provide citizens with electronic inspection reports via our Web site. These new devices represent this Administration’s commitment to using new technology whenever possible to improve our services.”

Most of the OPH sanitarians received on-site training by the software contractor, Steton Technology Corp., to become familiar with the new technology. A group of 120 sanitarians responsible for retail food inspections will be the first to use the new technology, which should be fully operational by Jan. 1, 2004. The new reporting process then will be fully implemented within 14-16 months in other inspection areas, such as milk processing plants, dairy farms, commercial seafood processors, food and drug processors, nursing home inspections, daycare centers, correctional facilities and other industries or facilities.PHOTO AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST. Please contact DHH’s Bureau of Communications and Inquiry Services at (225) 342-4742 to obtain a photograph of a sanitarian using one of the devices in the field.