We implemented the QuickBase business process platform as a case management application at a local government agency. This application provides external stakeholders information and access to internal users such as case workers; client advocates and senior management. The goal was to provide a common communication and coordination environment to expedite the delivery of services. How did this application come about?
The agency was having difficulty providing timely services to needy residents. The previous service tracking and distribution system was based on hard copy forms that were faxed to multiple agencies and providers in different locations. The result was a ’wall of paper’ creating bottlenecks throughout the process. Services were slow to be delivered with an average wait time of 30-40 days. During this waiting time, these residents often had to resort to extreme methods to survive – particularly in periods of bad or cold weather.
The agency realized that the situation was in need of improvement. Their goal was to deliver the needed services within 14 days of identification. Part of the challenge was to provide secure access to “external” service delivery organizations – and to provide a way to “rate” service providers to better understand which were most effective.
With a more comprehensive case management solution, scarce resources could be more effectively applied in a timely manner. In most cases, timely application of resources could prevent individual crises which were often expensive and time consuming to resolve. In some cases these crises may have resulted in tragedy if not resolved quickly.
Incapsulate’s engineers, working in concert with government employees, conceived and created an online case management application utilizing the customizable QuickBase platform. The application enables employees to more quickly and efficiently track and “rate” eligibility of needy residents; track clients receiving services; and manage the weekly review process. The application provides a central “clearinghouse” for all eligible residents and services. It also records information and performance on external service providers which is utilized when new services are needed.
Incapsulate’s Agile methodology enabled an iterative development approach to solving these complex case management problems. Existing QuickBase licenses and data templates were utilized as the “foundation” for the application – thus eliminating additional IT investment and minimizing training and support costs. Technologies such as .NET (for data loading initiatives and auditing purposes) and the QuickBase HTTP API (for custom developments) were leveraged to easily extend standard QuickBase data and workflow management capabilities.
With the QuickBase case management application implemented, the government agency now has one central repository to track the entire service delivery process. This central repository is utilized by offices in different locations and has saved over 30% on case processing, coordination and travel costs. The central repository has also enabled the creation of new data (such as vendor ratings) which has helped improve the quality of services delivered. Steps in this case management process include:
a) Initial application management and approval;
b) service provisioning and tracking;
c) process accountability and tracking; and
d) process review and escalation.
The application also generates high level dashboards to provide performance and evaluation data to senior management. This information enables management to insure that needed services are being delivered in a consistent and timely manner. It also enables management to communicate effectively with the public about the distribution of scarce resources.
The ability for the application to “rate” the eligibility of residents (based on defined characteristics) is one of its unique features. Each needy person or family is assigned a “rating” within the application which can change with time or conditions. These ratings affect the delivery of service through the assignment of priorities. The ratings can also help coordinate the delivery of complimentary services from different divisions which contributes to more effective resource distribution and budget planning. Implementation of these features has helped insure coordinated and repeatable delivery of needed services.
After planning and implementation of the application in less than four months, the average wait time for service delivery is now just 7 days – from the previous 30-40 days. Services are now provided with 30% fewer internal hours dedicated to each case – resulting in unanticipated staff efficiencies which enable more effective case oversight and much shorter case backlogs. The QuickBase application has also enabled greater internal accountability and more efficient process and resource management capabilities.