Keeping track of inbound referrals and inquiries can be a hectic process. When inquiries are handled by different people at different times, it takes a lot to set up and manage a consistent means of tracking and following up on outcomes.
That’s why we recently launched a new feature for service providers! Now you can review and respond to referrals to your programs, then track the outcomes within one central dashboard.
In this dashboard, you can:
You also have additional options to accept intake forms:
With referral and inquiry activity being tracked for you, you can get a look at the bigger picture:
Dig into this data via reports you can share with board members and funders to illuminate program activity.
All this is just the beginning. With this dashboard, we’re laying the foundation for a provider-focused workflow, to make it easier for you to help the people who are inquiring about your program. But we know there’s more to learn! We always appreciate feedback and the chance to learn from you, so we can continue to build our platform to better meet your needs.
If you have additional feedback, we'd love to hear it! Please reach out to us at email@example.com.
Here at Aunt Bertha, we are lucky to partner with a wide array of amazing people and organizations who work hard every day to support members of their communities. Each organization is unique and often highlights the needs of certain segments of their communities including veterans, seniors, families, patients or members of a particular geographic community.
Over the last several months, we have been hard at work creating new ways for you to tailor the experience that you give to your community.
Configurable Search Navigation
One way to give a more personalized experience is through the new configurable navigation bar. Instead of the standard ten categories (shown below in figure 1) the top navigation bar can be arranged, renamed, and even added-to, in order to make it easier to find the programs that your community needs the most – whether it's programs that address social isolation for seniors, childcare support for families, or the health of your community.
Figure 1: Standard search navigation
Figure 2: Custom navigation with renamed categories and brand colors.
Search Result Display Order
Another way that you support your community is by directing your community members to the best resources that will help them overcome a particular challenge.
Prioritize programs that you have invested in or vetted. Whether a program is one of your own programs you offer to your communities or a program that you know is responsive to those in need, we can create a featured flag that will highlight your preferred programs.
Figure 3: Featured programs are tagged an displayed at the top of the search results.
You may also choose to influence the order of the programs so as to suggest certain service for the community. This process gives programs a ranking (1-100), which will then influence where on the search results the programs surface.
If you are already using Aunt Bertha's Enterprise Platform, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we can work with your team to provide a more customized experience to your users that reflects your mission, values and priorities.
Not using Aunt Bertha yet? Request a demo and find out how you can easily connect your clients with the resources they need.
Aunt Bertha is committed to reducing barriers so that people can easily find and connect to social services. A critical part of this work is ensuring that our site can be navigated by anyone looking for help – including individuals who are visually impaired or navigate sites without using a mouse. In early December, we launched some exciting changes so that our site can be more easily used and viewed by all people. Read on to learn what accessibility changes we made to Aunt Bertha.
Aunt Bertha’s mission is to help ALL people in need, and adapting our system to our users helps us reach large and often underserved populations. Our database has information on hundreds of programs designed to help these specific groups, all of which are now easier to find, contact, and use! Our new release makes navigating Aunt Bertha easier for people with both visual and physical disabilities, including users with lifelong disabilities, users with temporary injuries or illnesses, and users for whom age makes it difficult to see or manipulate a mouse. People with these needs often have a harder time using the internet to find services. By increasing the accessibility of Aunt Bertha, we are working to make a big difference in helping them find the programs they need.
Accessibility & Design
Going forward, the principles of accessibility will inform all of our new features. We subscribe to the principle of General Design - the idea that designing tools and interactions that help users with the most limitations will also make the Aunt Bertha experience better for everyone, not just people with disabilities. For instance, when people on our system are filling out a form or trying to get to a page fast, they may want to keep their hands on the keyboard instead of switching back and forth to the mouse. When our users are tired from a long day, it’s important to display the information they need in an organized, logical way, with a clear hierarchy showing what is most important. People who print our pages on black and white printers need to be able to understand every button and icon without any color. We can use General Design to build accessible interfaces that also make our site better for everyone.
Accessibility Changes to Aunt Bertha
For people who are visually impaired:
For people who can't use a mouse (physically disabled or visually impaired)
More to come!
We will continue to improve visibility and coherence as we design new features and redesign old ones, keeping accessibility at the forefront. We’d love your feedback, so if you have any thoughts about our accessibility, send us a message at email@example.com.
For more information on web accessibility, check out http://webaim.org.
At Aunt Bertha, we are always adding new and exciting features to make Aunt Bertha better and more effective for our awesome users. November was no exception with the addition of new enhancements that make it even easier to find specific programs and suggest new programs that may not already be in our database.
Find Programs or Agencies Easily
Now when you type in the name of a program, Aunt Bertha will suggest programs and providers that you are likely looking for.
Quickly Suggest New Programs
When you suggest a program, you can see if the program is already listed in Aunt Bertha.
Are there other features you wish were in Aunt Bertha? Want to help make an awesome product even better? Suggest changes or enhancements by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Open Enrollment for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act has begun.
Here are 5 things you need to know:
1. Time is limited! Open enrollment began on November 1, 2016. The last day to enroll or switch plans is January 31, 2017. After January 31, the ability to enroll in insurance is limited to people who qualify for a Special Enrollment Period as a result of experiencing a qualified life event such as losing health coverage, moving, getting married, having a baby, or adopting a child. Unfortunately, illness is not considered a qualified life event, so make sure to enroll on time.
Reentry coordinators take note: Release from incarceration is also considered a life event. However there is only a three month window to get coverage, so it should be addressed soon after release.
2. Update your application. “It’s important to update your application every year,” says Nora Cadena of Foundation Communities, a nonprofit offering support services to individuals and families in Central Texas. “Life happens and your life in 2017 will probably be a little different than it was when you enrolled back in 2015.”
3. Help is available. Insurance is complicated. If you need coverage for yourself or someone else, you don’t have to figure it out on your own. You can avoid the marketplace call center and talk directly with counselors who know your community. “We live here,” adds Cadena, “so we know the hospitals, the doctors, the networks the prescription costs. We know how things work in Texas and can help you choose the right plan.”
4. If you can’t afford insurance, you can still get coverage. Health insurance is required for everyone. The cost of available plans ranges depending on various factors, including income and family size. Individuals who can't afford the premium still have options. In addition to financial assistance that can make health insurance more affordable for qualifying individuals, there are other programs that can help in the interim with health care coverage.
5. You can’t be turned down for a pre-existing condition. Under the Affordable Care Act, you cannot be turned down for insurance because of a pre-existing condition.
To find an organization in your state that provides assistance with open enrollment and other healthcare options, search AuntBertha.com.
Chris Dunkin, on November 16, 2016
At Aunt Bertha, we continually are on the lookout to understand what does and does not work when it comes to helping people in need connect with social services, which led us to conduct a survey of hospital executives through our partnership with GLG Social Impact. The survey assessed hospital executive’s perspectives on the role that community-based social services play in supporting their missions and their capacity to connect and track when these services are received. The survey shows that 95% of hospitals face difficulties with tracking and measuring utilization of referrals to social need-based agencies and 60% of hospitals do not have a solid tracking method in place.
Perspectives on Social Needs in Communities
The need for help is not limited to the income level of the patient. While all hospitals had patients in need, more than 20% of population needs additional support at 63% of the hospitals studied. When hospital executives were asked how they would describe a patient population that needs social help, the reasons went far beyond income. A lack of caregivers at home, an aging population, a lack of support once a patient leaves the hospital, and a lack of knowledge of services available to help were all cited. Each patient population has a unique combination of needs that a hospital has to serve and monitor.
Why does a systematic approach to connecting patients with social resources matter?
Hospitals are facing increasing pressure to focus on long-term clinical outcomes as quality measurement, pay-for-performance and other value-based purchasing strategies become the norm. In particular, the readmission penalties being applied by Medicare create substantial incentives for hospitals to take a more holistic view of the patient upon discharge, including addressing the social determinants of health.
The focus on addressing the social determinants of health is growing, and is expected to become increasingly important over the next 5 years. The survey showed that 94% of respondents indicated it is important or very important to connect patients with social programs. Respondents also closely align connecting patients with social resources to their organizational goals. 50% of respondents indicated improvements in this area will be critical to their long term success and another 33% indicated that they will become more important. However, as the survey indicates, most hospitals do not have a systematic process for making these connections and little is being tracked.
The time spent finding resources matters as well for a busy care management team. A recent McKinsey study showed that employees spend an average of 9.3 hours per week looking for information. Until recently there were no consistent and systematic methods for hospitals to find community-based social service programs and track patient referrals to these programs, which leads to a resource burden.
Where does the difficulty in implementing a systematic approach and tracking lie?
Approaches implemented in the past by hospitals to address the social needs of their patients were informal and unstructured. Respondents indicated that the most common methods for identifying social services agencies were information maintained on personal lists and Google searches.
Despite significant awareness of patient needs for social supports by hospital executives, more than 70% of respondents indicated that they either had a process for making referrals to social service agencies that was not systematic or that they had a systematic process that was underutilized. About 60% of respondents indicated that utilization of referrals to social services was either not tracked and measured at all, or was tracked poorly and in a decentralized fashion. An even higher percentage (about 65%) gave the same responses with respect to the tracking of outcomes from referrals to social services.
The most common explanation for not providing more navigation services to social programs was that it takes too much staff resources. In addition, more than half of respondents identified the lack of software or a tool to find resources as the primary reason for not having a more systematic approach to tracking social needs support.
Best practices for Social Need referrals and outcomes
Hospital executives recognize the need to address the social needs of their patients but are not doing so in a systematic way because they lack the tools and the data they need to support their efforts. There are great advances in these capabilities, and the following best practices should be in place as part of any systematic approach for making referrals and tracking outcomes:
How can Aunt Bertha help?
Extensive, easy-to-navigate data
Aunt Bertha's software for hospitals and health plans helps to more effectively and efficiently connect patients to agencies that assist with food, housing, transportation, and other services. This provides a quick and consistent process for social program referrals.
The interface is also easily used by patients who are ready to self-navigate the process.
Reporting and collaboration capabilities
All activity is recorded so referrals and areas of greatest need for a patient population can be seen in real time in our analytics dashboard, allowing executives to spot trends, analyze gaps and determine which social interventions have the greatest impact.
Imagine how much more you could do, if you knew with certainty exactly what resources your patients or community members are looking for, and whether or not your community has the programs to help them. Our new reporting gives key stakeholders even more insight into this mission critical information
With these interactive dashboards decision makers are empowered to answer questions like:
Our goal here at Aunt Bertha is to make sure that you take advantage of this wealth of information available to you. To learn more, request a reporting demonstration below.
Selina Sosa, on October 18, 2016
A key challenge to connecting people with social services is keeping resource information current. Because program offerings and funding change constantly, it is not uncommon to gather a binder full of resource information that becomes outdated after just a few months. "Keeping up-to-date with new resources that can help our clients is definitely difficult," shares Runi Limary, Director of Programs at the Breast Cancer Resource Center in Austin, TX. "Trying to maintain that data over time is even more challenging because things are constantly changing."
Aunt Bertha works with providers to solve this problem by allowing users to claim and maintain their program listings.
Claiming allows organizations to:
Providers who claim their programs also get access to a free dashboard that shows the number of times each of their programs has been returned in search results. This information can be used to support program planning or fundraising efforts.
Anyone who works at an organization can claim programs using their work-affiliated email address.
Ready to claim? Click below to find your program and get started...
If you would like support with this process or have questions, email email@example.com.
Wouldn't it be great if there was a way to directly connect to social services anywhere in the US... with the click of a button? Now you can.
For years, Aunt Bertha has made it easy to find social services resources through our online database. Now we're taking the next step to seamlessly connect people to programs, saving people time and closing the gap between discovery and action.
Introducing, Connect! - a new feature offered by AuntBertha.com.
When someone reaches out through the Connect button on any program listing, the agency will receive a notification about the inquiry and can reply directly to the person in need. Agencies also have the opportunity to add additional questions to the form so it's tailored to their intake process. The agency can then reply through Aunt Bertha to share additional information and collect required documents. Anyone can use the Connect button, whether for themselves, as a seeker, or on behalf of someone else, as a helper.
Each person involved, the seeker, the helper and the agency have a dashboard where they can update the status of the connection. The status reflected in one party's dashboard is updated across the other relevant dashboards as well. For example, if the agency changes the status in their dashboard and denotes a seeker's application is "in review", that information will be reflected in the seeker's and helper's dashboards as well. This allows for easy and more transparent communication across all groups, and helps to close the loop. Over time, the dashboard also becomes a place that logs a history of all the open and past connections for each person.
We know that finding and connecting to social services can be challenging, and even scary. We also know that there is a big gap in closing the loop, assuring services were received. Our hope is that by making it as easy as possible to connect and communicate, it will help us all to acheive our ultimate goal: knowing people have found the help and support they need.