Our annual Impact Prize winners have gone above and beyond in using our software to help serve their communities. They have demonstrated some of the most innovative, creative ways to use AWARDS in creating a lasting impact on the communities they serve.
Alliance for Positive Health embarked on their AWARDS implementation with a goal of moving away from an almost exclusively paper-based system to record and track consumer data and services. The move to AWARDS finally gave them their own centralized agency-wide database where data could be shared across programs — ensuring more accurate and comprehensive service documentation, eliminating double and sometimes triple data entry, and giving staff the opportunity to focus more of their time on doing what they do best — providing mental health, substance use, and homeless services to their clients.
Over the past 2 years, Hudson Guild's senior management identified and implemented ways to use AWARDS to create a more streamlined billing process by eliminating outdated program configuration, refining bad data, and creating a workflow for efficient and accurate billing. Additionally, they saw an opportunity to utilize AWARDS for better compliance with the New York State Office of Mental Health regulations. All of this great work has allowed Hudson Guild to develop strong and efficient procedures aimed to both minimize clerical burden and reduce "click fatigue," allowing clinical staff to focus on providing mental health services to their unique population.
Although Gateway Hudson Valley started working with Foothold over 10 years ago as part of a larger HMIS system, many of their programs were still primarily using paper charts. They saw an opportunity to streamline program operations by transitioning fully to their EHR. They made key changes to their processes, including teaching managers to run their own incident reports, customizing their service plans, creating new forms, and re-configuring their e-signatures. They’ve also been able to implement a connection with a RHIO. Gateway was able to overcome initial anxiety around using technology and ensure a smooth transition.
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Southwest Youth & Family Services was able to nimbly assess community needs and redirect resources accordingly through the use of an emergency survey in AWARDS. Week after week, they pull assessment data into reports to make informed decisions on their emergency fundraising efforts and program operations. Their use of data to support their decision-making in real-time has allowed their clients’ needs to truly come to the forefront, enabling their community’s voice to guide their crisis response.
Catholic Charities of Steuben has made tremendous strides in inspiring their staff to make client care more holistic. They have been able to track changes in address to identify individuals experiencing chronic homelessness, and then use that information to assist people in finding sustainable homes. With the Charts feature, they were also able to collect information on an individual’s lifestyle to better address social determinants of health. They have leveraged data visualization through AWARDS to develop their agency’s unique value proposition, which has helped open doors to new funding opportunities.
NJHMFA has helped countless underserved people in areas where homelessness was previously hidden or unseen. Many suburban and rural areas of New Jersey do not necessarily present with an obvious population of unsheltered homeless. With AWARDS, the agency was able to create a clear picture of housing insecurity in multiple suburban counties of the state. Using the Coordinated Entry function, they also developed waiting lists to keep track of clients and funnel them to the best programs. AWARDS helps their case managers learn about each client’s background before meeting with them in person, allowing them to provide more holistic care.
The Bridge, Inc. has been using AWARDS for over a decade, and is still finding new ways to use the software. The agency launched a Change Team model that brought together leadership and staff to create a centralized intake center over the course of 6 months. By tracking all clients and appointments within AWARDS, they were able to provide a high quality experience to clients and referrals calling into the agency. The creation of the intake center has also helped them assess their staffing patterns and ensure adherence to regulations.
Department for Persons with Disabilities has completely revolutionized the way they do their work. Using the Internal Audits feature, reports of due and overdue items are sent to the appropriate supervisors to action. Additionally, by developing frameworks to help supervisors prioritize work while seeing the big picture, the agency was able to make their daily tasks more effective and strategic. To measure the outcomes of these changes, they use ReportBuilder to analyze their results and identify future improvements.
BRC’s integration of AWARDS into its Transit Outreach Program provided the agency with a tool to organize 7,500 monthly contacts with people experiencing homelessness within New York City, and place over 3,300 people into improved housing situations or treatment facilities in 2017. Additionally, AWARDS provides BRC with a tool to effectively organize services for clients across its 28 programs. This has allowed the agency to provide a comprehensive approach to client services, resulting in more suitable housing placements based on a client’s individual needs.
MHY Family Services leveraged its implementation of AWARDS as a catalyst for substantive organizational change. Throughout the agency’s implementation, staff members reflected on and altered documentation requirements, and utilized a host of creative strategies to encourage staff adoption of AWARDS. An extensive internal training and evaluation program, paired with a strong support system encouraging AWARDS usage, allowed MHY Family Services to decrease the amount of time spent on administrative tasks, improve the quality and capability of reporting mechanisms, and ultimately provide a new level of services to clients. Building on change management practices already infused into its service model, staff at MHY enthusiastically created a positive environment for change.
Through its extensive use of the AWARDS medical module, Niles Family Services has helped reduce pressure on emergency services within its community. The agency has increased its ability to assess and document client medications and conditions, and then direct those clients to urgent care or a primary care physician, instead of more costly emergency room services. As one example, the agency developed a variety of assessments in AWARDS for scatter-site housing programs and integrated them into workflow protocols, allowing the agency to identify the complex medical needs of individuals, and enabling staff to connect those individuals with relevant services sooner.
Carline Dalton, Clinical Coordinator in the Behavioral Health Division of Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey, led the charge in establishing new workflows and documentation standards to position Goodwill NY/NJ as one of the earliest adopters of providing Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) and documenting it in AWARDS under new guidelines.
Jim Zamboni from the Mental Health Association of Columbia-Greene Counties used AWARDS to create a set of assessments to support the agency’s Chatham Cares for You program, which connects clients to substance use treatment services. Not only has the assessment tool resulted in a 100% client placement rate into treatment, Jim’s work has fostered a positive collaboration between MHA CGC staff and local police.
Sequel Alliance Family Services uses weekly quality assurance and compliance reports generated from AWARDS to drive agency decision-making. This work helped land an average score of 95% on an Idaho state Medicaid audit. As Brianne Page, QI Manager at Sequel Alliance describes, “With AWARDS, our supervisors have the ability to view their entire programs’ documentation in one location with ease, eliminating the need for cumbersome paper records and unnecessary travel from site to site. Before AWARDS, this level of oversight would have been impossible.”
If your agency is using AWARDS in innovative ways to create long-lasting change in your community, learn more about how to apply for our next annual Impact Prize.
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