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Christa Knox

Christa has eight years of experience working at a non-profit crisis/I&R helpline. During her time there she focused on grant writing, administration, data analysis, and project management, with a distinct focus in emergency management, continuum of care coordination, and training. As an iCarol Solutions Expert, she guides new clients through the iCarol trial process, assessing their unique challenges and providing a solution to address their needs.

Using Online Forms to build a Continuity of Care service model

One of iCarol’s most versatile features, Online Forms, enables visitors to your website to enter information that, when submitted, becomes a completed call form in your iCarol system. While there are several use cases for iCarol’s Online Forms, one major focus of these forms is in enabling a true continuity of care between the initial service providers (e.g. hospitals, clinics, physicians) and the helpline service following up with the patient following discharge.

Health advocates agree, one of the biggest issues they face relates to following up with patients after they have been discharged. Many hospital systems lack the time, resources, and specialized knowledge to provide a comprehensive continuity of care and as a result are looking to helplines, warmlines, and information and referral services to provide follow-up to their recently discharged patients.

With iCarol’s Online Forms, hospital staff can enter patient information through a website, either yours or theirs, and the submitted information comes into your iCarol system as a completed call form. Once submitted, other actions can occur, including follow-up scheduled automatically and an email sent to one or more of your helpline staff. Then, your staff can use iCarol to contact the patient through a phone call or even a text message. Best of all, the data related to the initial form submission and all subsequent contact with the patient is all kept and reportable through the iCarol Statistics, allowing you to keep track of how many patients you’re receiving, why patients require a follow up from your helpline, and what happened when your staff followed-up with the patients.

We are acquainted with privacy laws like HIPAA (US), PIPEDA (Canada) and the Data Protection Act (UK and Europe). We have safeguards and processes so that we do our part to maintain compliance with these laws, and are willing to sign needed agreements asserting our role in your compliance with them. For more information about iCarol’s security settings and standards, download the iCarol Security Summary.

As more hospitals and physicians look to enhance the continuity of care for their discharged patients, helplines, warmlines, and information and referral services are uniquely positioned to fill this service gap for health providers and using Online Forms may just be the missing link that can help you fill this need.

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Self-service Tools: The new age of helpline service

My former employer’s Executive Director used to always say that as long as people still used phones, our crisis lines would answer them, but if people used ESP to communicate, well, we’d use that too. While most humans haven’t yet figured out a way to use ESP for communication, our society is using different forms of communication and even non-communication to get information, assistance, and support.

Text and chat communication has grown exponentially across most age ranges within the past five years. On top of that, a growing trend has also arisen with the internet: self-service tools. There is a big opportunity for helplines of all kinds to use self-service tools to promote their services and increase partnership agreements.

Because we here at iCarol are committed to providing helplines and others the tools they need to reach people across multiple platforms, we created Online Forms. With Online Forms, website visitors can submit information which comes into your iCarol system as a completed report form. Since the forms are essentially a public facing version of an iCarol report form, you can view, edit, and report on the form in the same way as all of your other report forms.

Several possible applications exist for using iCarol’s Online Forms. Let’s explore two use cases:

Assessment and Program Intake

Elmdale Crisis Center (a fictitious organization) operates numerous crisis lines through various contracts with mental health authorities, public and private health providers, and local municipalities. Elmdale’s management team is looking at ways to increase contract amounts by providing additional services without adding too much burden on their staff. After reviewing their current service offerings, they found a few contract required assessments that could be offered through an additional avenue, Online Forms.

They designed the following workflow:

online form workflow

With this workflow, Elmdale Crisis Center can extend the service offerings of the contract with the goal of increasing the number of people who request an assessment and intake into the service provider’s programs.

Consumer Satisfaction Survey

Elmdale Crisis Center’s management team wants to capture a consumer’s satisfaction and risk levels after using their crisis services so that they can report on outcome achievements and demonstrate their social return on investment, necessary for future funding requests. They decided to use iCarol’s Online Forms so that the consumer’s responses and information comes into their system automatically and their front line staff is notified if the person submitting the form would like additional follow-up.

Elmdale placed the consumer satisfaction survey on their website and created an iCarol resource record containing the online survey link, so that their consumers can receive the link directly via a texted or emailed referral from the iCarol system. They instructed their workers to provide the survey link to consumers at the end of their conversations.

The management team designed the following online survey:

Pre-screening question – if answered “no”, visitor cannot complete the survey.

    1. Have you contacted Elmdale’s crisis services? Yes/No

    Survey Questions

    1. When did you last contact Elmdale’s crisis line?
  • Today
  • Yesterday
  • This week
  • Last week
  • Earlier this month
  • Last month
  • Longer than two months ago

  • 2. How did you contact Elmdale?
  • Call
  • Text
  • Chat
  • Other, please specify

  • 3. On a scale of 1-10, how upset were you at the beginning of your conversation with an Elmdale crisis worker?
  • 1-10 Scale

  • 4. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the level of empathy and understanding the Elmdale crisis worker demonstrated during your conversation?
  • 1-10 Scale

  • 5. One a scale of 1-10, how upset were you at the end of your conversation with an Elmdale crisis worker?
  • 1-10 Scale

  • 6. Will you contact Elmdale’s crisis services again?
  • Yes, definitely
  • Yes, possibly
  • No, probably not
  • No, definitely not

  • 7. Would you recommend Elmdale’s crisis services to a friend or family?
  • Yes, definitely
  • Yes, possibly
  • No, probably not
  • No, definitely not

  • 8. Would you like an Elmdale crisis worker to contact you regarding this survey?
  • No
  • Yes +
  • + Contact Information
    First Name ________________
    Phone Number __ (____) ___________
    Best time of day to call _______________

The versatility of iCarol’s Online Forms opens up entirely new methods for those in need to contact you. Using Online Forms provides additional opportunities to increase and improve service offerings, which can translate into more funding to support your helpline.

Do you have other ideas about how Online Forms can be used? Leave a comment below. Want to discuss some of these ideas with an iCarol staff member? Contact us.

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Honoring World Cancer Day

iCarol Webinars

Saturday, February 4, 2017 marks World Cancer Day. This year’s theme, “We Can. I Can.” was chosen to inspire individuals and communities to take actions to help prevent and fight cancer.

Empire State Building lit blue and orange in honor of World Cancer Day
Image: Cancer.org
World Cancer Day Empire State Building
According to the American Cancer Society, over 8 million people worldwide die from cancer every year, making cancer a global health priority. This year, communities around the world will hold walks, seminars, and public campaigns to raise awareness and educate others on how to eliminate cancer by taking various steps, including cancer screenings, healthy eating, physical activity, and smoking cessation.

Cancer advocates agree there are certain steps individuals can take to reduce their risk of cancer, including making healthy lifestyle choices, knowing the signs and symptoms, being aware of early detection guidelines, and supporting cancer patients and survivors during and after cancer treatments.

As a community, we can all educate others about the link between lifestyle and cancer, dispel cancer myths, encourage healthy living habits at schools and in the workplace, and improve access to affordable care.

Helplines, warmlines, and information & referral services around the world can mark this occasion by spreading awareness of cancer prevention methods and even incorporating a few health workplace activities at their own organization. Together, we can reduce the global burden of cancer and make fighting cancer a priority in our own communities.

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“The Listeners” screened in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

I had a great time attending the screening for The Listeners hosted by Crisis Intervention Center. I got to see several of my former coworkers and it was so nice to catch up with them and then see such a great film. Audience members for the special screening included current and former volunteers for CIC, as well as board members, and students of an LSU Crisis Intervention Class.

The audience of current and former volunteers for CIC, board members, and students excited to screen the film
The Listeners screening Baton Rouge audience
Based on my experience working at the Crisis Intervention Center (formerly Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center), “The Listeners” is an accurate portrayal of the effort it takes to screen, train, and support volunteer crisis workers. Those in this business of telephone based crisis intervention know all too well the initial anxiety a crisis worker feels during their first shift, and “The Listeners” does a good job of capturing that feeling on film. As the film progresses though, it becomes clear that as a crisis worker learns to cope with that anxiety, they begin to realize that they are in fact making a difference in the lives of the people they speak with. Certainly not all calls that come into a crisis center are about suicide, and “The Listeners” demonstrates well that some callers just need a caring and empathetic person with whom they can unload all of their current thoughts and emotions onto.

Aaron Blackledge, Executive Director of CIC, welcomes audience to special screening of The Listeners
The Listeners screening Aaron Blackledge
In the film, they explored funding issues that crisis centers across the country are faced with, which in my opinion, highlighted the need for crisis centers to use their data to make their case for funding. Specifically, it is important for crisis centers to make requests for financial contributions by using data to demonstrate their community’s return on investment in their crisis services. Simply put – a crisis center must use data to express their ability to save the community money by averting unnecessary Emergency Department admissions through their de-escalation techniques (SAMHSA, 2014). In my own experience, without the use of iCarol, it would have been nearly impossible to calculate the number of times crisis workers did and did not send at-risk callers to the emergency room. However, because the Crisis Intervention Center uses iCarol to document all calls, chats, and texts, reporting on this data each month was quick, easy, and accurate and provided community leaders with information regarding the cost-benefit of crisis services.

I definitely encourage those in the nonprofit helpline field to see “The Listeners” because it gives a very real, very raw look at the challenges and successes crisis workers and crisis centers of all kinds face on a daily basis. I’m truly grateful for crisis workers that take calls, chats, and texts from people in need of help. While their work may be anonymous and confidential, the results of their work is felt in the individuals, families, and communities that benefit every day from these vital services.

Wendy Bookman (CIC), Christa Knox (iCarol), & Rick Jackson (CIC)
The Listeners screening

Citation:
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Crisis Services: Effectiveness, Cost-effectiveness, and Funding Strategies. HHS Publication No. (SMA)-14-4848. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2014.

More about The Listeners:
Watch the trailer
Host a screening (it’s easy!) in a theater or college campus or community center near you.

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