The Aunt Bertha Blog

Morgan Peretti

Morgan Peretti

Recent Posts by Morgan Peretti:

Customized for your Community

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.

navigation.pngFigure 1: Standard search navigation

Screen Shot 2017-01-30 at 3.42.33 PM.pngFigure 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.

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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 customer@auntbertha.com 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.

 

Topics: new features

New Feature Spotlight

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

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Now when you type in the name of a program, Aunt Bertha will suggest programs and providers that you are likely looking for.

Benefits:

  • Quickly find programs
  • Fewer clicks to get to the program you're looking for
  • See multiple programs offered by one provider

 

Quickly Suggest New Programs

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When you suggest a program, you can see if the program is already listed in Aunt Bertha.

Benefits:

  • A shorter and more user-friendly form
  • Identifies programs already in the database
  • Allows you to view those programs

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 customer@auntbertha.com

 

Topics: new features

Reporting for Impact

 

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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

By partnering with Aunt Bertha, you have access to individual search data on the site so you can get a real-time understanding of the  the needs of people in your community.  Combined, this data paints a picture of what resources are in the highest demand, and where gaps may exist between those needs and available services.
 
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With these interactive dashboards decision makers are empowered to answer questions like:

What was the top search in my county this week?
 
How many people searched for housing in my state last month?
 
How many programs are available to people living in my county? 
 
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Another key feature of the new reports is the ability to track not only searches for resources, but also additional steps that users take to move towards accessing a program. 
 
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The "Engagement Activity" dashboard allows users to see when people explore more information about a specific program, take a next step to reach out (such as clicking a phone number or getting directions), and also when users refer themselves directly to a program using our "Connect" feature.  These additional pieces of information offer more insight into whether or not people find the resource they are looking for.
 

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.

 
Request a Reporting Demo
 

Close the Loop Without Jumping Through Hoops

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.

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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.

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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.

Topics: new features

For Complex Care Management, Camden Coalition Finds the Right Resources – Fast

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What if health care professionals working with medically complex patients could easily coordinate holistic care plans to meet all of their patients' social service needs in their community? Would it decrease the patients’ chance of being re-admitted to the hospital? Could it eventually lower healthcare costs for the entire system?

A new project launched by the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers may provide answers. For over ten years, the Coalition has worked to improve the access, quality and capacity of health care in the city of  Camden, New Jersey.

The Coalition’s multidisciplinary care teams support frequently-hospitalized patients with complex care needs. They  work with the individuals in a short-term intervention to stabilize their health. Many of the patients served by the care teams are taking multiple medications, have two or more chronic medical conditions, and are susceptible to social vulnerabilities such as homelessness, addiction, and unemployment. 

 "A lot of our case managers are skilled and know a lot of information, but not all of that information lives within everyone. That’s impossible. So certain people have more domain expertise but this allows that information can be shared. So the knowledge doesn’t have to live within one person." 

Laura Buckley, Social Work Manager for the Coalition, outlines the challenges of keeping medically complex patients in Camden healthy and out of the hospital. “Certain patients can have unstable housing, and when people are unstably housed, it can be difficult to coordinate their health care. For others it may be the exacerbation of mental health and addiction. The struggle to connect to those resources can increase the likelihood of [the patient] being readmitted. Because discharge planning in the hospital often can happen so quickly it can be a challenge to make sure that everyone is on the same page."

The Coalition’s care teams help patients navigate an overwhelming and fractured system, empowering them to not only address their medical issues, but social barriers as well. 

The journey begins at the hospital where care teams meet patients at bedside. Patients and Coalition staff discuss the patient’s health goals based on areas of need that the Coalition calls "domains of care." Examples of these domains are "housing and environment,” “education and employment," or "food and nutrition." Coalition staff learn the patient’s personal story and collaborates with them to connect with the best programs to support their stated goals.

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For the last decade, this has largely been facilitated by experienced case managers, using note cards to guide their patients through the process of attaining their goals. Without a centralized, up-to-date resource library, care teams had to rely on their own specialized knowledge to connect patients to services.

Over the last several months, the Camden Coalition and Aunt Bertha have collaborated to develop an online tool that links them directly to the social services they need to support their patients. The tool guides a user through the same domains of care and interventions, but now, when the case manager selects an intervention, they can enter the patient's zip code, and the programs that support their specific intervention immediately populate.

The new online tool allows care teams to create an integrated care plan that supports the patient's social needs in addition to their medical care. "We’re still asking what goals they want to work on,” says Buckley.  “Once they identify a few things, we can use Aunt Bertha to link them [to programs] or start that plan... It doesn’t change the questions that we’re asking but it helps us to find an answer sooner."

The tool allows for shared knowledge across an interdisciplinary team. "A lot of our case managers are skilled and know a lot of information, but not all of that information lives within everyone. That’s impossible,” says Buckley.  “Certain people have more domain expertise but this allows information to be shared. So the knowledge doesn’t have to live within one person." 

To support and empower their patients, the Coalition provides their patients with a resource binder and their own link to Aunt Bertha where they can search for additional resources. Buckley says that she is hoping that by empowering patients to find their own resources, they'll be able to support themselves. "A lot of times patients do have smart phones. [Aunt Bertha] is an added benefit – a resource pocket guide that they can have on them at all times. It ensures sustainability of the intervention and helps empower our patients to find the resources and access the resources they need when we’re not there, which is the ultimate goal."

Interested in using Guided Search?
Request a Demo

 

Capital Area Food Bank Leverages Aunt Bertha's Technology to Break Down Barriers


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Photo courtesy of CAFB

The Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) is the largest organization in the Washington metro area working to solve hunger and its companion problems: chronic undernutrition, heart disease, and obesity. As the CAFB has worked for the past 36 years to strengthen the safety net under the region’s most vulnerable neighbors, it has provided nourishing food and other resources to over 540,000 people living in our nation’s capital and its surrounding suburbs in Maryland and Virginia. Many of those residents visit pantries, soup kitchens, and other non-profits who receive food from the CAFB; but sometimes, a neighbor in need doesn’t know where their next meal will come from.

For those emergency moments, the CAFB had, until 2015, operated a Hunger Lifeline, whereby community members would call a number to be referred  to the food assistance partner by a CAFB team member on the other end of the phone line. Though well-intentioned, over time the CAFB noticed that these referrals were creating red tape for their callers as they could not receive services without making that call. When the CAFB realized that they had become a gatekeeper, more than a gateway, they knew they had to make a change.

So in 2015, the CAFB did away with their referral system entirely and launched the Food Bank Network, an online search portal for social services, powered by Aunt Bertha. The Food Bank Network is free to the public and offers resources that go beyond food assistance, such as housing, transit, goods and health programs. “It empowers individuals to find the services they need on their own time, with their privacy intact. And it ensures that those resources are up to date," says CAFB’s Director of Marketing, Kirsten Bourne.

And empowered, they are. Before the implementation of Food Bank Network, the CAFB averaged 600 calls to their Hunger Lifeline every month. Following the launch of the Food Bank Network, calls dropped to an average of 50 calls per month. During the same period, the Network has averaged 2,176 online searches per month.

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Because the Food Bank Network captures information for a broader range of services, CAFB can work with their nearly 450 partners to support their community in a deeper, more holistic way.  “We are much more sophisticated about the data we have in terms of need... and are able to better understand the pressing issues facing people that are living in poverty and help organizations unite to face those challenges,” says Bourne. “Food is the hook to bring people into literacy, job training programs and housing.”

Paula Reichel, DC Director of CAFB elaborates, “People and nonprofits oftentimes operate in silos; the [Food Bank Network] is bringing awareness to the very essence of what we are – a network…”

Through her work, Reichel has found that people of all backgrounds and occupations are providing resources for their fellow community members. “Whether it’s policemen, librarians or even teachers with food in their desk, Food Bank Network is a tool for anyone.”

To learn more about what services people are looking for in the greater Washington DC area, download our free report.

Download Washington DC Report 

Topics: data Community building empowerment