St. Louis Arc
The St. Louis Arc provides a lifetime of high-quality individualized services, support and advocacy to more than 3,000 developmentally disabled adults and children, and their families, in the St. Louis metropolitan area. As an affiliated chapter of the Arc of the United States, the St. Louis Arc is integrated in the world's largest community based organization of and for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. One of the organization’s key programs, Respite Services, empowers families to select and obtain the additional care giver support they need to care for their loved ones at home. Families not only determine when they need care, but who provides it, having the power to designate a person of their choosing as the care provider, or someone from St. Louis Arc’s care provider database. Respite Services reimburses families at standard rates for the short-term relief services they receive. While Respite Services touches the largest number of beneficiaries, the St. Louis Arc has several other programs including community integration services, residential services, cultural events, sports programs, social activities and employment services.
With the number of clients increasing every year, and with a highly complicated state voucher reporting and verification system required for each client, St. Louis Arc’s Respite Services spent an enormous amount of time on manual data entry and review. This resulted in high overhead costs and poor data quality. Lacking a central database and a simple method for adding and updating client records across the organization, each program had its own client database. This approach created extensive duplication of effort and prevented staff from understanding each beneficiary's full involvement. Even worse, the organization's communications capacity was severely limited by existing tools - it took staff nearly two days to create a beneficiary email distribution list. The organization needed a more efficient case management system that allowed staff to track the history of someone's relationship with the agency; it needed an easier way to facilitate two-way communication with the people they serve; and it needed a solution that could eventually integrate all of their programs into one database.
ifPeople recognized that the St. Louis Arc needed to migrate from a program-centric process of tracking relationships to a people-centric one. As staff already worked at full-capacity, the new system needed to be easy to adopt and able to facilitate people with their jobs. With a stable of long-time employees, St. Louis Arc also required a system that would capture the institutional knowledge only housed in staff's memory. In order to ensure organizational fit, ifPeople assembled a group of stakeholders who provided feedback throughout the process, guiding process improvements as well as technical implementation. ifPeople developed an integrated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system for Respite Services that can easily expand to accommodate St. Louis Arc’s other programs over time using the Salesforce.com platform. Through the new CRM system, ifPeople made it possible for St. Louis Arc to easily enter and track client information and quickly create targeted email lists.
The new capabilities developed and implemented by ifPeople help St. Louis Arc to better satisfy all of its internal and external reporting requirements, save staff time, and increase capacity for communications. Involving the staff throughout the process has lead to a high level of satisfaction with the solution and an eagerness to use and extend the new technology. By dramatically increasing data accuracy and cost-effectiveness and significantly decreasing duplication of efforts, the organization can devote more time to audit reporting and better track usage trends and client needs. This shifts staff effort from data entry to improving the service. By moving to a "customer-centric" model, St. Louis Arc now manages critical relationships more effectively, having the ability to control and track outreach, file referral information, and report on the lifetime of care provided.