REACH Edmonton

An app aimed at allowing 24/7 Crisis Diversion Teams to collect and share real-time information in the field has allowed frontline workers to go digital.

This means that frontline workers are entirely paperless from initial client contact to connecting them to the supports they need with a warm hand-off.

By facilitating all administrative duties in real-time, workers are able to spend all of their time in the field without returning to an office to do paperwork.

“This is an example of how collaboration fosters innovation,” said Lindsay Daniller, director of community initiatives and strategic development at REACH Edmonton. “But it also facilitates integration between five mobile teams from different organizations, working around the clock, across the city.”

REACH Edmonton brought together frontline workers from inner city agencies, Homeward Trust and privacy experts to develop the app.

By working with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, the app was developed to share information between workers and within their agencies while ensuring that data is encrypted and all personal client data is not permanently stored on the outreach worker’s device.

REACH and its partners then teamed up with local startup developer Atmist to build an app that follows the workflow of frontline workers in the field, helps them share data in real-time while eliminating the need for paperwork.

“We collect and share some information about the client each time we work with them, and that is shared across the teams so the next time we see a client we aren’t starting from scratch with them,” said Daniller. “The value of that is that the individuals don't have to re-tell their whole story to us. We have a sense of where they’re coming from and are able to address their most immediate needs by connecting them to the right supports.”

Not only does the app facilitate integrated services delivery, it also aligns the evaluation process by collecting data using shared definitions, standards and outcomes.

“This process has demonstrated REACH Edmonton’s role when it comes to these kinds of collaborative projects,” said Daniller. “Our partner agencies are busy running their programs, serving vulnerable Edmontonians, and we want to create more capacity so they can prioritize delivering services.”

The 24/7 Crisis Diversion initiative is a partnership between Boyle Street Community Services, Canadian Mental Health Association (211), Hope Mission, Edmonton Police Service, and Alberta Health Services Emergency Medical Services with REACH Edmonton as the backbone organization..