by Ivy Raff, Implementation Consultant & Laura Marshall, Senior Project Manager
A common but bothersome issue: your office copy machine breaks. The solution is pretty much one-size-fits-all. You call your copy machine vendor and they deploy a technician who disappears into the copy room, diagnoses the problem, and applies a proscribed fix.
In the complex and constantly shifting world of behavioral healthcare, not all of your technology is or should be so formulaic. Several agencies have partnered with Foothold Technology, integrating AWARDS into all of their workflows, for more than ten years. Here are a few things we’ve learned about fruitful and rewarding partnerships along the way.
As in a happy marriage, communication is key
You already have a vested interest in maintaining open communication channels with your colleagues. Open communication ensures tasks get completed, work is accomplished on time, and problems can be addressed effectively. Creating intra-agency partnerships makes life easier, because you can tap those partnerships when changes and decisions need making and actions need taking.
Cultivating that same level of communication with Foothold Technology is an essential way to ensure a “happy marriage” with your EHR partner. As your EHR, AWARDS has been configured to match the myriad data collection and reporting needs of each of your programs. Instead of waiting for that proverbial copy machine to break – whether that means changing regulations, staffing/capacity issues, or opening a new program – proactively engage with Foothold Technology as a partner. Your AWARDS Senior Project Manager is in a unique position to help vastly improve both your agency operations and the quality of your data and service provision.
Let reporting be your guide
Some agencies who are just beginning to use an EHR experience anxiety around making the application “easy enough” for their staff to use. They are eager to simplify data entry for their staff, but can sometimes err in the wrong direction. They simplify data entry so much that reporting is not as robust as they want and their funders need.
Instead, use your reporting requirements to guide the decisions that you and your Implementation Consultant and/or Senior Project Manager make about how to configure your database. Your Implementation Consultant has years of experience implementing AWARDS at agencies across the country. You can rely on us to balance your reporting needs with making AWARDS as efficient and intuitive as possible for the end user.
When implementing an information system, all team members at the table bring expertise. Your agency staff brings the program and process knowledge, and your Implementation Consultant brings the database configuration and training knowledge. We are all collaborating toward the same goal of making AWARDS user-friendly while keeping your reporting on point.
New database, new workflows
The process of bringing in AWARDS is an exciting time for your agency. You are learning all of the ways that a relational database can streamline your workflows, ease reporting and auditing, and improve oversight.
In this new environment, many of your processes on a paper system may become obsolete. Manual workflows such as manual tallying services and document checklists will become automated in AWARDS. So, implementing AWARDS is not and should not be a simple replication of your current forms in electronic format. Your Implementation Consultant, when viewed as a true partner, can help you decide which forms and processes can safely be eliminated post-implementation.
It can feel challenging to let go of certain forms or processes that your agency has employed for so long, but with Foothold staff as your partner, you can trust the waters and take the plunge!
Here’s what one of our long-standing customers had to say:
“Lakeview has been using AWARDS for over 12 years and it has been instrumental in performing our daily documentation and functions. From the moment we signed on until now we have had the exact same Senior Project Manager, which helps tremendously in communication. With ever changing regulations Foothold has been able to adapt and grow with our needs as an organization.”-Kevin Schweitz, Lakeview Health Services