Are you a Victim Service Provider? Then you should be aware of the signs of a successful Comparable Database for case management. It comes down to much more than simply following compliance for HUD–you need to make sure it has powerful management tools, a robust security model, and standards for accessibility.
Choosing a VSP Case Management System
Let’s face it—working as a Victim Service Provider (VSP) can be a lot of tough work. These health and human service organizations are faced daily with immense pressure to provide rapid aid, uphold strict client confidentiality, and maintain compliance with stringent government oversight.
These challenges are not unwarranted, of course. VSPs work with community members who are often at their most vulnerable. When their clients’ safety is on the line, there is no room for cutting corners. Unfortunately, this can still happen, and often does, especially through case management systems.
Most VSPs need to use case management systems known as Comparable Databases. These databases provide extra security and regulations, in large part because of the sensitive nature of VSP work. However, not all systems are created equal. How do you know if yours is up to industry standard?
Consider our 7 aspects of a successful VSP case management system. You may be surprised to learn your current system isn’t delivering you all that it can. Alternatively, knowing all that a Comparable Database can do for you–and then integrating a system that delivers these key features–could elevate your VSP to a more successful organization.
Aspect 1: Regulatory Compliance
Perhaps the most important part of a VSP case management system is compliance with HUD standards. If your system isn’t promising regulatory compliance, then what is it offering?
Staying up to date on the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) standards can be a full-time job; just ask our team of HUD experts at Eccovia. They focus on ensuring that our ClientTrack® system is consistently aligned with the latest privacy and security guidelines.
When comparable datasets don’t promise regulatory compliance, VSPs are left scrambling to audit their compliance in-house. Not only is this time consuming, but it leaves potential for error on the shoulders of social workers and organizations whose focus could be better used elsewhere.
Step one for any VSP analyzing their case management system should be asking about HUD compliance. Here’s a quick list of just some of the compliance features a successful case management system should have:
- HMIS (out-of-the-box compliance)
- HMIS CVS import and export functionality
- Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reporting
- Victims of Crime Assistance (VOCA) reporting
Unsure what these compliance requirements are? Then jump down to aspect 7 to read up on how successful case management systems should also provide comprehensive support for questions just like this!
Aspect 2: Powerful Push-Button and Ad Hoc Reporting
Whether we like it or not, reporting is an essential part of VSP work. It’s easy to understand why; reporting helps stakeholders and providers alike see the quantitative impact of services. However, reporting can quickly become a tedious and time-consuming process. When reports are being manually generated, they become exposed to potential for user error and data mishaps.
Successful VSP case management systems can overcome these barriers to reporting. Strong Comparable Databases can create immediate reports with whatever conditions or data you require. During your case management assessment, ask yourself: How long does it take to generate a report? Is the report easy to understand? Does it contain all the information I need?
Outcomes are best conveyed through data visualization such as graphs and charts. If it takes your team a long time to create these visuals, your case management platform might be at fault. These systems should take the burden of data work off your team’s shoulders, not add more weight to bear.
Aspect 3: Strong Management Tools
This third aspect may seem like a no-brainer: a case management system should definitely be able to provide management tools! Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
Some case management systems try to cut costs by circumventing essential management tools. Doing so comes at a price, particularly for the user. For instance, a system that does not allow for administrators to customize their program means that some clients will not be able to receive the unique care they need. Strong case management means strong management tools, full stop.
So what do these management tools look like, exactly? And how do you know if your Comparable Database offers them? A good place to start is by running through this checklist from HUD. Also consider whether the system offers levels of management. Does it differentiate between a case management, project manager, and database administrator?
Aspect 4: Robust Security Model
We’ll get straight to the point with this one: weak security should always be a dealbreaker. All health and human services need to strive for secure privacy, but VSPs are held to an even higher standard. Their clients need to know that their data is safe within the case management system. If it’s not, then VSPs risk both the integrity of their organization and the very safety of those they serve.
Here are some keys to look for that signal a Comparable Database is up-to-par with security:
- Layered defense system
- Secure and reliable cloud hosting
- Securing data in transit
- Strong security culture (including background checks and trainings)
- Restrictions and viewer limitations
- Control access to data at database and record level
- Customized user management
VSPs need to consider each of these keys when assessing their system’s security. The best platforms can offer all of these aspects, and more. Sounds too good to be true? For ClientTrack users, it is their everyday experience. Just ask one of our current users to hear how their data is always safe and secure.
Aspect 5: Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
When working with any type of database, there should always be an emergency plan. Successful case management systems need to have this plan in place the moment your VSP begins using it.
Central to a disaster recovery plan is regular backup and encryption. If a system cannot do so, you risk losing data and damaging the effectiveness of your program. Unfortunately, manually-managed systems (e.g. only using spreadsheets or online document forms) do not offer this kind of disaster recovery.
Aspect 6: Design Standards for Accessibility
Platform usability is often the aspect that delineates between good case management systems and great ones. We all know that employees at your VSPs are not likely to stay there forever–every organization faces regular turnover, growth, and change.
Turnover offers a great opportunity for you to assess your Comparable Database. How hard is it for new employees to navigate the system? If your team’s database expert were to move on today, how difficult would it be to continue your operations until you train a new person for the position? If your program’s functionality can be halted simply by losing one team member, then your case management may not be an accessible platform.
The most successful case management systems for VSPs have straightforward designs as well as features to provide accessibility that accommodates people with disabilities. These accommodations should include:
- Images with alternative text
- Relative font sizing
- Accessibility validation
- Colorblind-friendly colors
- Simple keyboard navigation
Aspect 7: Comprehensive Support
Hopefully by now, you have a good sense of what VSP case management systems can–and should–offer. There’s one more key aspect though, and it’s the cherry on top of our list: comprehensive support.
It may be that one or more aspects above may have some jargon or features that not everyone may understand. This isn’t an issue when your case management system offers round-the-clock support to help your team 1) navigate the platform confidently and correctly, and 2) solve problems and issues immediately when they arrive.
A top-quality case management system for VSPs should offer easy access to support. For instance, our platform ClientTrack provides both online and phone support during regular business hours, in addition to an emergency 24/7 support line.
Knowing that a trained support team of software support engineers is just a moment away frees up VSPs to do what they do best: assisting survivors.
Reach Your VSP Potential Today
Our list above highlights seven of the most important aspects of a VSP case management platform. If you’re not satisfied with your current Comparable Database, don’t worry: we know exactly where you can find a database that meets all of these criteria (and more!). If you’re ready to elevate your VSP services, we are here to help.
Reach out to our experts today for a free demo or to get started on upgrading your Comparable Database to our industry-leading system, ClientTrack.