Shelly says the combination of Traverse and Traverse Connect allows Carver County HHS to achieve their goal of working in a hybrid method that supports both workers and county residents alike. “Traverse Connect allows us to stay all in the same application. If you can stay in the same application and be the most efficient, that's always going to be a win-win,” she said.
Workers in both Child & Family and HCBC say Traverse Connect allows them to be more efficient. “It’s a smoother process for everyone. It goes to the parent, it comes back to us, and then we can finish it off with the provider, so instead of waiting two months, it takes two days,” Tracy said.
More focus on families
Perhaps most important is that paperwork no longer stands in the way of workers’ ability to get residents the services and resources they need. “When the family’s process goes faster, our process goes faster, and the provider’s process goes faster, then it doesn't hold up services. They can move on to the next task that they need to, so we're not slowing anybody down,” Michelle said.
This allows workers to prioritize customers’ well-being, even while keeping up with mandated requirements. “It's not even a paperwork thing, it's providing care to our clients,” Rachel said. “We need the paperwork, the releases of information to talk to other agencies and providers, so it helps with continuity of care too, not just remaining in DHS compliance.”
Ashley added that Traverse Connect is especially helpful during high-stress situations where families don’t want to deal with paperwork on top of everything else. “All of the forms that I would give a relative were in one spot and they didn’t have to search through stuff for it,” she said. “It saves time, and then I'm able to put that time into more conversation with the family. It's also helpful for the family to have everything in that one spot that they can go to reference or go back to fill it out after I leave.”
Lastly, Tracy says that because workers no longer have to bug families to get their paperwork done, parents have more time to focus on what’s really important—their kids and their family.
Less stress on workers
“It's a lot less tracking, a lot less worrying what I need to follow up on or what I need to take care of, yet it's very simplistic,” Rachel said. “It takes worries away that you didn't realize you were worrying about.”
Tracy no longer worries that her customers’ services may lapse because their paperwork is delayed. “My stress level about having a late service agreement is gone. I don't have to worry about that anymore because we get the paperwork back,” she said.
Shelly also noted how the technology helps workers feel like they’re never alone. “In child welfare, one of the biggest burdens we have is when workers have the responsibility of an entire family’s or child’s safety on their own shoulders,” she said. “Being able to share that responsibility across the department to support our workers is really important.”
One secure and simple application
Workers’ increased focus on clients and the community and decreased stress levels are both a direct result of streamlined, secure paperwork processes that are all handled within Traverse and Traverse Connect. “All parts of the process can be completed in Traverse Connect. I can pre-fill forms or send forms to a recipient to fill out and sign in Traverse Connect. I can receive forms back in Traverse Connect and finish the form and it is uploaded straight to the file. The process is more organized,” Michelle said.
“We don't have loose forms sitting around,” Shelly said. “They're all contained in one secure application, which is Traverse.”
“The less systems that case managers have to delve into, the more they like it. They already have enough with Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) and programs that we have to access with them,” Brian said. “It was nice to keep it all in one package. It’s continuity and a familiar system that’s shared across many different units in different areas.”
Consistent and up-to-date state and local forms
Knowing that forms are always up to date—and consistently stored in a way that is tailored to Carver County—helps the agency keep up with requirements.
“We work in a very bureaucratic world with a lot of different programs in our area and they all had different forms that would seem to get updated every year. Before social workers would use different forms or have outdated copies. With this system we were able to lock in that when they pull up a form, it would be the most current one, which is really huge for us,” Brian said. “The biggest thing that I get concerned about as a manager is quality assurance. We have to constantly report back to the state of Minnesota what's been done, and I think systems like this allow us to get those needs met.”
Easy-to-learn software from a reliable partner
The software is so simple that Rachel caught on even though she could only attend half of the training. “It's literally one simple step. It takes 30 seconds to a minute to add a collaborator to the person’s case and then it’s super easy from there,” she said.
Both leadership and frontline workers also agree that having Northwoods as a partner made the process of learning and adopting Traverse Connect that much smoother. “We're not just left to figure it out on our own or feel like we don't have anyone to turn to if we have some big questions,” Melissa said. “I also appreciate that when we do give feedback, it’s received.”
“Northwoods has always been there, and you listen to us,” Shelly said. “It feels like you understand the world of social work and how chaotic it can be, and you're trying to find ways to really support us.”