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How to Minimize Risk When Starting a New Tech Initiative

The Digital Revolution In Human Services

Numerous technologies are available to the human services industry today. As support professionals and providers seek digital solutions to traditional tasks, risk management becomes a vital consideration. Solutions are now available that enable Human Services Agencies to conduct most aspects of their day to day business more efficiently and with greater accuracy. Any change in day to day business processes carries a degree of risk. These risks can be minimized by understanding the new processes and being able to take advantage of them to improve overall operations.  

Understanding available digital resources.

Most traditional tasks involved in operating a Human Services Agency can now be digitized. These include, but are not limited to visitation scheduling, documentation of care provided by caregivers, scheduling, insurance information, portals that allow individuals receiving support and caregivers to see records, staff payroll, auditor portals allowing records to be viewed by state and local agencies, and custom portals and functions, specifically designed for your organization.  

Minimizing The Risks.

Transitioning from operating a Human Services Agency using traditional methods to a digital platform is a challenge, with some risks. Digital record keeping makes compliance with State and Federal requirements easier and more accurate. The provider you choose to supply your software will also assist you in maintaining a secure environment.  

HIPAA- Privacy.

HIPAA is a major consideration, and while making access to client information easier for authorized personnel, it also can make it easier for unauthorized access. HIPAA considerations are a priority with any information system, and there are liability considerations if client privacy is compromised. Electronic files that are accessible via multiple portals including office and home computers and mobile devices make unauthorized access easier also. Password security is a high priority and access to files needs to be monitored constantly. Security is also an education process for staff and management to engage in. Sometimes an innocent or even well-intended distribution of information can have devastating consequences. A field worker sharing information with someone who may be in the home of the individual receiving support at the time of service can be a serious violation of the their privacy. Providers of Software Platforms are also your best resource for implementing access protocols and making sure client privacy is protected. One provider that has excellent security protocols is Direct Care Innovations.  

Keeping your records secure with Digital Backup Systems.

It is important to make sure your organization’s files safe. There are precautions you can take to mitigate the possibility of digital file deletion or corruption. Reliable back-up systems are available that can make Digital Records even more secure than paper files. Several years ago a major records storage service experienced a fire that destroyed thousands of paper records. If proper digital backups are put in place, the risk is eliminated. Several systems are available including:
  • Disaster recovery systems by third-party providers
  • Back-up storage servers, CD or portable hard drives
  • Cloud backup. These are third-party data storage services that provide electronic storage facilities known as ” The Cloud”.

Transitioning your operations to a Digital Platform.

The process of implementing a digital system has risks that you need to understand in order to minimize them and ensure a successful transition. Implementing any new technology has several major points to consider to properly manage risk. Risk management begins with deciding what you want to accomplish with the new digital system. If you want to replace a manual scheduling system with an automated one you need to decide the scope and accessibility. For example, a system that schedules appointments with a large staff that has rotating schedules will be more complex than simply entering names into an electronic calendar. You also need to decide how far ahead the system will need to reach and who will have access. The same approach applies to record keeping, payroll and time card systems and systems that document visits.  

How to choose the best resource.

It is vital that you understand exactly what you want to accomplish first. Your software provider is an excellent resource to help you decide which systems will be effective for your specific needs. 1) Choosing a resource – There are hundreds of software systems available for every type of business. Choosing becomes a challenge because many systems address the same business activity. Simply purchasing a pre-packaged product that consists of a few CDs and manuals is rarely a solution. Finding a reliable software provider that will work with you to reach your specific goals is the only way to effectively implement new systems. 2) Staff Training – All systems require training to be effective. Training involves staff workers, supervisory and management, and even the people receiving support may need training, especially using their information portals. In choosing a provider for your system, choosing one that also provides support is critical.  

Financial Risk Management.

Transitioning to a Digital Platform is also a financial commitment. The major costs are:
  • Purchasing of the software.
  • Purchase of new hardware as needed. This may include new computers, new handheld or other mobile devices for staff.
  • Licensing fees. Some software consists of a one time purchase, while some systems require ongoing license renewal fees. The more complex the systems almost always require ongoing licensing fees. Understand the full commitment before you begin. Again, working with an experienced supplier is the best way to manage financial risk.

Managing Success and Growth.

The ultimate goal of transitioning to a digital platform is to continue the successful operation of your agency. While ” Success” is not usually considered part of risk management, preparation for growth is. Careful selection of your providers is the best assurance that proper future planning will be done. Be sure that whatever platform you choose has the capacity for growth. If not, future expansion of your business could result in the need for completely new systems.   One of the most highly regarded providers of Digital Solutions is Direct Care Innovations. This is a provider of a wide range of medical digital management tools. Contact us for an obligation free consultation see if their solutions are a good fit for your agency. /kui or by calling 480-295-3307.

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