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Kiwi company helps improve Australian family support

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Independent early parenting centres QEC and Tweddle have collaborated to revamp their client information systems and roll out a solution designed by healthcare software company HSAGlobal.

The two organisations, which provide a range of residential and community-based support services to parents and families in Melbourne and Victoria, have replaced an eight-year-old Java system. The new solution brings greater functionality, shared reporting ability and greater visibility of client information to each organisation.

Each year the teams of health professionals at QEC and Tweddle work across 14 sites to provide support and education to more than 4,943 vulnerable families. An outdated client information system meant that the nurses, psychologists, lactation consultants and early childhood professionals were wasting precious time they could be spending with parents on data entry, administration and reporting.

The HSAGlobal system’s easy configurability, which does not require an external consultant to make changes, was a key factor in its selection. After an initial pilot the solution, named TWEQ by both providers, went live at all sites on 2 April 2012. HSAGlobal was selected from six providers for its core client management capability and willingness to extend the CCMS product to build enhanced features into releases for its community care customers.

Previously much of the client information at QEC and Tweddle was stored in Microsoft Word, Excel and Access and in handwritten file notes. Staff at many remote sites could not access or share information and there was a significant amount of duplication and manual data manipulation for reporting.

Four months after go-live, QEC and Tweddle employees and clients are already experiencing the benefits of the new shared system.

"Our remote staff feel more integrated into the organisation - they have the latest client information to hand without having to get the file from storage and can see what interactions other colleagues have had with the client and their family," says Janelle Crossett, Project Director for QEC and Tweddle.

"The alert system flags important information about a client immediately for others on the team accessing their file, for example a history of violence or an allergy. And because our calendars are shared, there is much greater visibility across the team. In general, there is far less need for faxing, phoning and emailing to share information."

There have been significant time and cost savings as a result.

"For our clients, TWEQ automatically sends an SMS reminder of their appointment and they can easily confirm or postpone the meeting. This has been really useful for busy parents, and also saves our team members’ time as they don’t travel to an appointment to find the person has forgotten and is not home."

"To meet our Government reporting requirements, we had to combine data from more than 80 spreadsheets! The statistical admin work really took time away from our core work," says Janelle. "We’re heading into our first quarterly reporting cycle now and already I can see that the process will be so much quicker and smoother with TWEQ. This means that our staff are out spending more time helping parents and children rather than inputting data into spreadsheets.

"Plus we currently spend around $15 per client on paper and within six months we aim to move to only three pieces of paper per file, so there are great hard cost savings too."

Much of the successful rollout is attributed to an extensive change management and training programme implemented as part of the project.

"We knew that to be successful, we needed everyone to be on board with the new system and we needed to demystify the IT side and address their concerns," says Janelle. "We had a handful of trainers who provided over 300 hours of training to the 130 employees of QEC and Tweddle over four months. We formed user groups to incorporate feedback into the system development and we met regularly with the CEOs and HSAGlobal to keep everyone informed. When it came to crunch time the rollout went really smoothly. The project came in on budget so the board is happy too."

QEC and Tweddle already have plans to use the system to improve the service they provide to parents and families.

"We currently support around 2,500 people by telephone," says Janelle. "We plan to introduce a web-based interface where clients or GPs can complete a scored assessment, powered by TWEQ on the back-end, to advise them of the options available for support. This will enable some clients to get immediate advice via podcast and videocast, and others to receive help in a more timely fashion. The anticipated time-savings for us are huge, again helping us to help more families."

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