We’ve long promoted the the idea that data sharing can help our clients build coalitions and partnerships, make a greater positive impact in their communities, and create new revenue streams for the organizations. One way we’ve adapted iCarol to make this easier for them is to build support for the Open Referral data standard in iCarol. If you like, before you read about the announcements we’ll go over in this blog, you may wish to get a refresher course on what data standards are, how they make such collaboration possible across different software systems and databases, and why Open Referral in particular has been adopted in iCarol.
Today we’re excited to announce two new and exciting iCarol Resource API enhancements, which now extends support for the Open Referral’s HSDS 1.1 schema and a full list of resources. Both of these new enhancements are designed to help you with your sharing collaborations and to access new funding opportunities.
iCarol is the first major I&R Software vendor to support emitting resource data that is fully compliant with HSDS 1.1 and the HSDA specification. For over a year iCarol subscribers have had access to downloading resource files from iCarol in the HSDS 1.0 schema, but we are pleased to now announce support for an updated HSDS 1.1 schema in the iCarol Resource API! You can read more about this schema here: Human Services Data Specification (HSDS). This schema creates a common language for software applications to share information across platforms.
Our clients in current sharing relationships using our iCarol Resource API have also asked for a way to access a full list of all resources available in their system, or even better, to filter that list by records last updated. We are happy to announce a new Resource API feature allowing a simplified, unpaged list of resources to be returned allowing your data partners to better access and use your resources in external projects.
We know that the ability to share data and to collaborate with your partners both within and outside of iCarol is important to you. Sharing resources can also open up new revenue opportunities in your communities. If you would like more information about how iCarol can help you success with your sharing and collaborative projects, contact us — we are here to help!
On the blog today we welcome Christopher Kurzum of CONTACT of Mercer County, NJ to give us an update on an exciting project called “TxtToday.” iCarol supports this project through providing the platform and assisting in some coordination in helping centers join this network. We also recently participated in their workshop about TxtToday at the NASCOD/CUSA conference in Nashville. Check out Chris’s update, below:
“TxtToday is the new national texting warmline from CONTACT of Mercer County, NJ in partnership with iCarol. We have been working closely with CONTACT The Crisis Line of Jackson, MS on a pilot program to test out the national texting portal. We have had great success in our beta testing and are planning to conduct longer tests utilizing role plays to practice “real life” scenarios.”
“We are also pleased to announce that as a result of our presentation at the NASCOD/CUSA conference, TxtToday now has two additional centers that are going to participate with us in the pilot program, which runs through the end of this year. Both the Idaho Suicide Hotline and the Family Service Association in Pennsylvania will be joining our beta testing. We are very excited to be working with them as well.”
“In the next few weeks, CONTACT of Mercer County, NJ plans on running tests with the three participating centers. We anticipate that these tests will run smoothly and help us identify any areas for improvement. Our next steps are to continue our pilot program and to also apply for grants for TxtToday. We have a number of interested centers that would like to work with us, and when grants are obtained we plan on subsidizing the cost of the network so that we may begin running the program live in early 2015.”
“We would like to thank the centers that are participating in our pilot program with us as well as iCarol for their continued support in this endeavor.”
If you’d like to learn more about TxtToday, or want to learn more about joining the network,
We have an exciting new capability to share with iCarol Messaging subscribers. You can now allow a partner center, or multiple centers, to take chats for you from within their own iCarol system.
This new ability is transparent to visitors; they will not be aware of which center is taking the chat session. Visitors will still click on your familiar Chat Now button on your website and will see your prechat survey. But during times you designate, both you and your partner center will see those visitors come in to each of your messaging queues. As usual, safeguards are in place so two people don’t accidentally take the same chat. Both centers will have access to submitted call report forms and associated real-time statistics.
The possibilities here are endless. It’s ideal for handling overflow in a disaster situation. Watch your messaging queue grow shorter and become more manageable as your partner agency takes some of your chats. You can use this feature to handle after-hours messaging visitors. Because iCarol centers are found in multiple time zones, after-hours for you might be prime time for another center, and your partner could take all of your after-hours chats. This lets you expand your hours of service without trying to staff shifts during hard-to-staff hours. Want to get really fancy? You could even designate multiple centers to handle chats that come in to a central iCarol system, effectively creating a consortium of chat centers where no single center feels overburdened or underutilized. Every partner center sees all chats and takes chats when they can — it’s load balancing at its finest. Each partner center could have their own hours of service, too, and you’d get real-time statistics.
If you’re interested but don’t have a partner center in mind, feel free to post a message on the iCarol User Community on the Dashboard to find your perfect match. We can see it now: Single Crisis Center on East Coast seeks same on West Coast for meaningful after-hours relationship…looking for good listening skills, compassion, and ability to read between the lines. 🙂