Technology has changed the face of how community services sector agencies are coordinating and delivering services in Australia. Over the coming months, Infoxchange Australia will publish a series of articles on the development of online applications, the needs they address, and the benefits that they provide in streamlining processes and delivering services more efficiently and cost-effectively.
In 2002 Infoxchange Australia developed the Service-to-Service (S2S) Service Coordination system in response to Outer East Primary Care Partnership in Victoria requiring a system to address the issues associated with the traditional methods of client referral and care coordination. S2S is one of six applications in the AppPac suite of online tools designed to assist community service organisations streamline the process associated with service delivery.
S2S improves organisational effectiveness by maximising transactional efficiencies. It coordinates referrals between agencies and securely stores and manages client details and referral history using cloud technology. It can be accessed by all participating organisations and is structured around strong data protection and client consent requirements. S2S has since grown to include over 1,500 services from health, welfare and community agencies across Australia
This improves four key delivery areas:
1. Referral management – from one service to another,
2. Workflow management – between teams and service providers,
3. Client record management
4. Care planning.
Applications like S2S reduce duplication of information and processes by linking organisations through a system of referrals and networks such as a primary care partnership (PCP). Traditionally, each agency would have had their own systems for managing client information, records and referrals to or from other agencies. This can have negative results such as multiple handling of records, communication gaps and compromised security as client information is passed from service to service through faxes, emails and phone calls. All of which takes considerably more time and greater cost.
"Previously, a lot of time was spent on follow up phone calls to check on the progress of referrals. We now receive and send instant feedback, and then have a permanent record of the transaction for future reference." Karen Shaw, Inner South Community Health Service - Prahran site.
S2S also tracks cases and reports to involved parties automatically, maximising the efficiency of follow-ups and ensuring clients are not lost in the system. Inefficient data processes are eliminated and client histories are secure, accurate, and can better inform the process of care. Consent to accessibility of records is required every step of the way so client information is protected under privacy laws and need not affect their access to other services.
Ann-Marie Deeker of Box Hill Hospital says: "S2S eReferral provides a secure and certain pathway from referrer to service provider."
The network of providers using S2S is continually growing and strengthening the coordination of services. Recently, the NSW Western Region implemented S2S for the delivery of disability respite services and in the coming months S2S will further deepen links in South Australia. The Murray Bridge Region will implement S2S eWaitlist for the delivery of aged care, enabling the improvement of service delivery across the nation.
Visit AppPac for information about other online application tools that help to streamline community sector services.