MHY Family Services in Pennsylvania: An Animated and Welcoming Approach to Change

There’s nothing quite like announcing that a new agency is joining the Foothold Technology community. Staff at Foothold Technology become excited, our new clients are ready to learn, and we have the opportunity to support an agency in new ways. Over the last few years, a steady number of agencies have selected AWARDS, our electronic record for human services agencies. With growth, comes the opportunity to reflect and the opportunity for change. Any agency implementing new software is also introducing a change in its processes. We’ve shared some insight about how some agencies prepare for change before, and as Meghan Branca recently experienced, new members of the Foothold community continue to welcome change in refreshing and fun ways.

Embracing a New EHR

As a member of our client services division, Meghan has the pleasure to spend time with many of our new Foothold Technology customers. She supports training and guides agencies through implementing AWARDS. As she was preparing to visit with MHY Family Services, a new Foothold customer located in Mars, PA, she was able to experience first-hand what it’s like to partner with an agency preparing for and welcoming change. “A few weeks before I arrived, and in preparation for their training, MHY Family Services created a short video to introduce AWARDS to its staff. The video playfully described how AWARDS was going to help streamline processes, save time, and help in efficiency. I knew this group was going to be great,” says Meghan. The excitement was palpable and only increased once she arrived in Pennsylvania. “As soon as I entered their beautiful building I was greeted with posters, hung at entrances and on office doors, announcing their new Electronic Health Record (EHR) — AWARDS. By the time I was ready to start training, all the staff were really pumped and ready to learn. Talk about a warm welcome! It felt like a homecoming of sorts. While change can be hard, this agency highlighted that it can also be exciting.”  

AWARDS Champions

The team at Foothold was impressed to see an agency taking its role in preparing for implementation in such a fun and responsible way. We also loved the video. We wanted to learn more so we scheduled a follow-up conversation with our new AWARDS champions. Following Meghan’s training, we spoke with Lisa Schiller, MHY Family Services Executive Director, and Jennifer Lewis, Quality Improvement Manager, to find out how they came up with the idea to create a fun video to share with staff, and why it was so important to rally staff before introducing the software. Was it something the agency had done before? How did leadership select video as the medium to use to get staff excited?

“Welcoming change is just part of what we do,” said Jennifer. “It’s just part of who we are as an agency.” Lisa agreed, “That’s correct. MHY Family Services saw the preparation and implementation of the AWARDS system as another opportunity to use our trauma-informed skills to gain understanding and buy-in. We used an interdisciplinary team that helped ensure we used lots of different points of view. The real success element is keeping everyone that is involved in this launch feeling informed about the tool and the process, feeling safe with the changes and believing that the product would afford efficiencies and contribute to good client or consumer outcomes. We knew it wouldn’t be perfect at launch but invited the teams to be part of polishing and improving the tool.”

As we found out, entering a new relationship with a new customer is great, and the only thing that makes it better is when agency staff are champions of positive change within their own organizations from the onset. We’re glad AWARDS can help with this and we’re very thankful to MHY Family Services for sharing their story. If you’d like more ideas on how to prepare your agency for change, let us know. Our implementation team has decades of experience helping agencies, and with the support of customers like MHY Family services, our client services team continues to make connections among all our customers, both new and established.