How Feedback From Line Workers Shapes SafeMeasures®
As a staff development officer for the Department of Public Social Services in Riverside County, California, I have been the primary support person for SafeMeasures® training and implementation for the past seven years.
I see myself as having several sets of clients. My primary clients are the worker, supervisor, and management staff of Children’s Services. My secondary clients are all the families served by our agency. My goal is to train our staff on how to effectively and efficiently use SafeMeasures to manage their daily work so they can spend more time meeting the needs of the families they serve.
Part of my work has been to collaborate with NCCD to tailor SafeMeasures for our staff. I greatly value NCCD’s knowledge, integrity, and customer service focus. It always feels like we are partners, working toward the same goals. Often it seems like they know and understand our business as well as, if not better than, we do.
For example, a few years ago I got a phone call from Pete Quigley, managing director of information services at NCCD. He was going to be in a nearby county for a meeting and asked if I could arrange a day for him to meet with staff at all levels to learn more about what enhancements to SafeMeasures might help them do their jobs more efficiently. By meeting with staff, we learned that workers needed some form of a snapshot of their current work tasks; trying to remember which reports to use for what information was complicated and time-consuming.
A few months later, I received an email with a link to a prototype of a screen that the SafeMeasures team had put together based on the input from our staff. I took one look and knew the workers would love it. The SafeMeasures team created a display that shows workers the status of their caseload for various upcoming tasks, such as contacts, case plans, or birthdays. Each task is color-coded to visually indicate its status: green signifies completed tasks, yellow means “due soon,” and red shows tasks that are overdue. This new display was the tool workers were looking for to help them with their daily prioritization and case management.
The SafeMeasures team continued to collaborate with me and a user group to further tweak what was eventually rolled out as the “My Upcoming Work” display. In addition to the task display, SafeMeasures added other features, including a pop-up window showing basic case information and access to a full client history. It was so well-received in Riverside County that it was soon released in other California counties. Now it is utilized by all of California, plus most other SafeMeasures clients. The concept has since been expanded to include a similar display for supervisors, “My Unit’s Upcoming Work,” as one of the primary enhancements to the new version of SafeMeasures, released in July 2014.
We have found that when management places a priority on completion of a specific task, workers will use SafeMeasures to help them manage that task, and the reports in SafeMeasures reflect that improved performance. We are excited to roll out the new version of SafeMeasures in our division, and we know that the included enhancements will continue to help us identify trends and interpret data to improve our performance and outcomes.
Danna Kipnis has worked with end-user computer applications for more than 30 years—the first 11 years of her career as an application specialist with IBM. She joined Riverside County’s Department of Public Social Services nearly seven years ago; after working more than six years with Children’s Services, she recently switched to support Adult Services. While supporting Children’s Services, Kipnis worked with staff and NCCD to develop and/or customize SafeMeasures reports to help the county achieve desired program outcomes and service delivery based on state and federal regulations. On a daily basis, Kipnis assisted users at all levels of the organization to increase application knowledge. She is a vocal advocate and avid supporter of SafeMeasures.