Field work

Case management hits the road in Tennessee

The Tennessee Department
of Human Services'
Adult Protective Services Division
is planning to deploy a
new case management system
intended to eliminate paper
case files and replace the current
mainframe system.

'We're looking for greater
flexibility [and] ease of operation,
and we want to free up
our workers to spend more
time on program activities
dealing with clients'as opposed
to spending time working
within the mainframe system,'
said Jeff Roberts,
assistant commissioner for fi-
nance and administration at
Human Services.

A company called Lagan will
provide the solution, which
will be the first statewide deployment
of its Lagan Human
Services product. Implementation
is scheduled to take
place from March through
May 2008.

The system will allow the workers to
focus on the programmatic activities, as opposed to the bureaucracy.

' JEFF ROBERTS, TENNESSEE HUMAN SERVICES

Under the current system,
case workers visit the homes of
vulnerable adults with a paper
file and camera in hand. They
must then return to the office
to upload reports and photos
into the mainframe system.
'Currently, there's no real
way to attach medical information,
pictures of the client,
or all the other extraneous
pieces of information you
gather out in the field,'
Roberts said. 'All of that is
kept in a separate paper file,
and'we have sort of a tracking
system on the mainframe.'

Under the new system, workers
will be equipped with laptop
PCs when they visit clients,
so they can immediately enter
and consolidate the relevant
information, including photos.

With all case information
stored in one place, workers
will be able to easily retrieve it,
so Roberts expects field productivity
to improve.

'The new system will bring it
all together and allow the
workers to focus on the programmatic
activities, as opposed
to the bureaucracy,'
Roberts said.

In addition, the Lagan product
will let workers in the field
send immediate alerts to a supervisor
when there are problems.

Under the current system,
workers phone a
supervisor to report a problem,
but 'you can't send a picture
or other type of information
over the phone,' Roberts
said. 'The whole idea is that
the laptop gives [the workers]
the flexibility'to gather information
and, if necessary, get it
to a supervisor quickly.'

Ralph Duke, executive director
of information technology
at Tennessee Human Services,
said the department would
like its workers to be able to
download case information to
laptops so they can go out in
the field armed with all the information
needed to make
proper case assessments.

Duke said such assessments
include reviewing the case history
and determining whether
the client is living in the right
place.

Duke said the department is
aiming for a true case management
system so its workers can
be more flexible and perform
more timely risk assessments.

What's more, Duke said the
new system 'will allow [the
department] to come off the
mainframe and move to a distributed,
Web-based environment
that will hopefully ease
our maintenance [workload].'

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