If you’re like most program managers or directors we come across, then you probably have concerns about whether or not your staff can transition from paper to digital documentation. I’ve been to providers where employee turnover at the direct support level is upwards of 400% a year! I have a hard time even wrapping my head around this number. This post isn’t intended to tell you that we know more about your staff then you do. I’m not even going to pretend that’s the case. But, what I do want to point out are the technology adoption trends in this country, the realities of what staff will be doing in a digital system and hopefully some extra confidence that getting your staff to use computers or smartphones is not a herculean task.
First, the trends. The biggest area of growth in technology is with mobile devices. Chances are most of your staff have smart phones. According to comScore Reports, 138.5 million Americans owned smartphones as of June 2013. That’s over half the US population at 58%. And although Apple has the highest market share with their iPhone at 39%, the platform that has the most is Google at 52%. A Pew Report, released June 5th of this year also points out that at this point only 9% of the American adult population does not own a cell phone. When looking at smartphone ownership across different age groups, the highest ownership people between the ages of 25 – 34 at 81%. Close behind is 18 – 24 at 79%. Think about the ages of your direct support staff, if you’re like most agencies then your staff tends to fall within those age ranges. Think about that for a second… 8 out of every 10 Americans between the ages of really 18 – 34 has a smart phone!! The statistics suggest that your staff owns and operates a smartphone every day. According to research firm IDC, the top activity done on a smartphone is email, followed by web browsing, then Facebook.
- 78% use their smartphone for email
- 73% use their smartphone for web browsing
- 70% use their smartphone for Facebook
- 64% use their smartphone for map/directions
- 60% use their smartphone for games
So taking a look at smartphone ownership and activities, there is a good chance your staff not only owns a smartphone but knows how to navigate it, type and send messages, click and use the internet.
This is really important to know because web based agency management platforms are available on smart phones in a really easy to use fashion. Secondly, the majority of your staff knows how to get to and open a web browser and type. That is how agency management platforms are accessed. Thirdly, if they can use Facebook they can certainly use a system for digital documentation, which a lot of times is simply checking boxes.
So, let’s talk about the realities of what your staff will be doing. In all agency management platforms there are different access levels, restricting and permitting what a user can do and see in the system. For direct support staff, access is limited and therefore navigation is fairly simple. There aren’t a whole lot of places a DSP can go once logged in. That’s important to note. The “click-path” is the path a user takes once they are logged in. For DSPs, the click path is relatively defined and in a few clicks or less the user is at the service note page documenting outcomes and goals. Most agency management platforms have customizable note templates that make it as easy as checking boxes for activities that have been worked on for the day in simple and oftentimes graphical ways. When looking at solutions, make sure you see a demo of what your staff has to do in the system. We have found that easy to use navigation is the number one criteria for providers when evaluating systems. And remember, your staff is probably more technologically advanced then you give them credit for. Do a survey to find out how many own smartphones or use Facebook and you may be surprised by the result!