Government agencies in general tend to stay in their own siloes and be reluctant to share information. Some of it is agency caseworkers being too busy. Some of it is concerns about being HIPAA compliant. And some of it is a healthy paranoia about data security. The right government software solutions can alleviate much of those concerns.
Why should we be concerned with the sharing of information? It’s simple. When different government agencies are able to share information about a client, it increases the level of care. For instance, if you have social welfare and foster adoption agencies sharing the same bit of information, they’re going to see the needs of the client a lot better. If you’re helping a parent and you had access to the child’s records, you’re going to understand more about the family dynamics. You’re going to be able to treat that family a lot better tomorrow. It’s more of a holistic approach that lets you affect all factors of the system, not just one dynamic of the system.
A Case for Caseworkers
Sharing information between government agencies doesn’t just help the client, it also helps the caseworker. It’s less work, less redundancy and an opportunity to do your job better, because you’re able to give better care to your clients. All this helps lift caseworker morale and provides a level of caseworker stress relief.
For example, in Missouri, if you do fostered option care, you could be using three different systems. You could be using your agency system, the state-facing system and the children’s division system. So, the caseworker has to do the same thing three separate times. That’s a moral issue, a time issue, a space issue and a data consistency issue. If you have to type the same email three different times, they’re going to be different. If you’re talking about a treatment plan or things like that – you could end up doing things differently at different agencies. Sharing information through a government software system creates more consistent data entry and, therefore, more consistent care.
A Case for Clients
This same way of data sharing is good for the clients, too. It provides them consistent care, consistent service and easier access to care. It saves them time, stress and frustration too. Most people when they go to these government agencies are stressed out already. They’re coming in because there is a problem in their lives. The last thing you want to do is throw up barriers to solving their problem.
Sharing information alleviates some of those barriers and the extra stress they can cause. It makes it so the clients don’t have to do the same things three times over. They don’t have to explain their family history 20 times, because each caseworker has it all right here in front of them, in one system.
A Case for Consolidation
The right government software solution can also help you streamline your system and those you’re connected with. One government agency we’re talking to currently has over 300 different forms. There is so much duplication. We looked at these forms and they can really be narrowed down to 15 forms. They had 15 ways to ask you your income. You go to another agency and they may have one. Another one may have 30.
That’s the problem with a lot of these agencies, because their systems don’t communicate with each other, they are always building new forms instead of looking at the system and saying, “Hey, we already have this, let’s just repurpose it or create a more generic title everyone can use.”
If you have a common system and database, you can log in to work and put your information into a document. The software can operate differently based off of your user ID, based off of your provider access, it can populate those forms differently. So, it turns those 15 forms into one form. Now the information is stored in one table that you can extrapolate anything you want from it. That’s where government agencies need to be. And that’s where a government software solutions like FAMCare’s can make a big difference.
We help government agencies break down the silos between federal, state, county and local lines so they can share critical information and improve outcomes for both the clients and the caseworkers. With the silos broken down, disparate databases are connected and the different agencies are able to collaborate more efficiently and affordably. Everybody wins.