Created an interim data tracking system using SharePoint to measure the time frames for processing applications. The in-house database did not have this function. I trained co-workers in use of various views and troubleshoot system as necessary as site admin. Team efficacy improvement 74%. System is used for generating reports on where applications and changes are in the processes. This system is being used as inspiration and a guide for building new reports within the Harmony System.
The below is the technical documentation (as images) used for training my supervisor and co-workers. The system was decommissioned in early 2018.
The State has several types of providers who were previously “invisible” to management statistically. We knew they exist but really did not know exactly who they were or where the clients were. Frequently, the clients served were placed in a wrong environment and all sorts of havoc would happen when something went wrong.
My supervisor was agonizing over the issue one afternoon and I could hear her snarling to herself in her office across from me. After a while of listening I decided to take a break from my own work to see if there was anything I could possibly do to help.
She explained that there’d been an incident and she felt helpless to have prevented it because of a lack of data available internally. She had no idea where the clients lived or who the home contracted with that was supposed to be providing oversight.
As she explained the dilemma, I sympathized and promised to think a bit about the issue.
Being the geek I am, I thought first of an Excel system but realized it’d be cumbersome to keep updated. We needed something to be built into a current system that was consistently used and updated. I immediately thought of our current “DS3” database that housed everything and the different connections used in it. Further reflection gave me a flash of insight and an idea. The system connected our Care Coordinators to their parent agency why couldn’t we do the same thing for this type of contracted home?
Of course this brilliant flash came at 3 pm on a Friday with not enough time to really sit and think on much but over the coming months I would be brought into multiple meetings with IT and management to explain to both my idea.
In October 2013 the idea became a reality and I was called upon to send out a formal Records Request to the providers that were identified and ask for information to fill in our database gaps. I am still currently tasked with updating this sizable chunk of data as the state moves forward towards a new system.
I discovered that a public search tool was broken due to recent regulation changes and database updates. It is a crucial tool for clients to use to find providers of services and our providers use to market or find other providers to help clients as well. I was tasked with building the requirements document to fix the issue and improve the results generated as I understood what the providers, Quality Assurance, Provider Certification and the clients all needed and could explain it to the IT folks in language they understood. The result is an improved search tool that provides the data all stakeholders need to do their work.
The State of Alaska or any government is really inefficient at saving money. At the start of my state service one of the first things I had to do was a Records Request for the Department of Law. This included gathering a decade of hard copy file folders and manually copying every page in each folder.
While busily monitoring the copier since it broke frequently and ensuring that nothing was double sided and thus would have to be copied and inserted separately, I started thinking about how much paper and toner along with the wear on the machine this was having and how much it had to cost just for this portion of the request. My figures were staggering just to me as it was a case of paper ($40-60) at the end and many man hours ($14/hrX15+hrs) to prep it all plus the cost of toner (each cartridge for the copier comes in at about $700 each color) and even electricity (probably the least of the costs) to do everything.
Then came the shock of how much it would cost to get it to Fairbanks overnight. More than $200 just in shipping. I knew there had to be a better way.
When the next request came in a few weeks later, I approached my supervisor and asked about simply scanning and burning the results to CD ($20 for a large stack) and mailing that to Fairbanks ($10). I pointed out it was far less expensive to mail and the lawyers could print the relevant portions of the file for the case easily.
She agreed to talk to our Attorney General and ask. The answer came back, “lets try it”. For a couple years we were able to do the CD thing and saved a lot of wear and paper not to mention shipping costs. Then there was a HIPAA breach, no not anything I did but a co-worker had a problem with a laptop and all CD burning was turned off.
Back to trying to figure out how to get files to our AG. We were using a plugin called You-Send-It for secure email. Perfect! Scan, zip and send. EEK! The files were too big. So IT procured a copy of AdobePro for me so that I can split files. YAY! Small file size, doesn’t overtax the servers. Then we stopped using You-Send-It and went to Direct Secure Mail (DSM).
With DSM we recently learned that it fills up fast with attachments so it has been OKed by the AG that normal email for the files We’re sending is perfectly fine.
Over 6 years, I’ve lost count of the number of requests I’ve fulfilled, at least 6-10 per year all in the 200+ page count category. One thing I do know is that I HAVE saved the State of Alaska a lot of money by developing the procedure of scanning and emailing records requests for non-client based files.
When we had a change of regulations in 2013, that prompted a big change in our database, which in turn broke a few things including a web based interactive search tool. This was the business document I was asked to develop upon my discovery of the broken tool. It not only fixed the issue, it added some improved functionality that the division had wanted for a couple years.
Update: The changes to the Provider Search Tool are complete and can be seen live on the Senior & Disabilities Website. Additional changes have also been made to the Submit Corrections form as well recently.