Successful Partners in Reaching Innovative Technology (SPIRIT)

Information systems are the heart of effective administration of the U.S. Department of Agriculture/Food and Nutrition Service (USDA/FNS) Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). In 2002, 13 Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs) in the southwest region of the United States formed a consortium to support the next generation of automation for clinic operations and State agency administration of the WIC.

The consortium developed the SPIRIT information system to transfer to other WIC state agencies to eliminate duplication and streamline the implementation process. SPIRIT was the first State Agency Model (SAM) developed after an initiative by FNS—as directed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)—to plan, develop and deploy model management information systems to support State agencies.

Since its inception the program has grown significantly and has evolved to 17 State Agencies (with three more implementing in the near future). The SPIRIT system currently supports 2700 users and more than 417,000 participants, and is expected to grow to more than 3,500 users and more than 560,000 participants.

The SPIRIT system is a robust system with several key attributes:

  • Capability for a paperless clinic using Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards with electronic signatures and scanning capabilities
  • Four built-in benefit delivery systems
  • A Microsoft .NET v3.5 framework
  • Implementing regular (quarterly) SPIRIT software releases to ensure timely and accurate enhancements