Murtis Taylor Human Services System is a charity that provides health and human services support to people in need in Cleveland. When people can’t come to one of their offices, Murtis Taylor's 130 mobile case managers bring services to the people.
A clever and inexpensive "nonprofit in a box" enables them to do that. Learn how they're able to reach clients in need using laptops, Mobile Beacon hotspots, and a few other tools.
Murtis Taylor has served Cuyahoga County since 1948 and they have grown to meet the expanding needs of the people there. Murtis Taylor now serves around 11,000 people annually across its 12 locations and via its dozens of mobile case managers.
I spoke to Bob Cerny, MIS Manager for Murtis Taylor Human Services System. Bob has been there for 13 years. He started out as an accidental techie, first as a school teacher and computer hobbyist. He eventually found his way in to IT by becoming a network engineer and eventually a medical information systems engineer.
On the role of technology at Murtis Taylor Human Services, Bob maintains: "We are not a technology organization. We serve the people. Technology is actually not at the heart of what we do. There is no benefit to having technology that is flashy. We like to use basic practical tools.”
Their simple nonprofit in a box is a perfect example of how using basic practical tools can help nonprofits better serve their communities.
Bob told me that moving to a cloud-based electronic health records system was a key part of becoming a much more mobile agency.
As he said:
“We originally had a collection of software, some bought, some built. Three years ago we began our search for a comprehensive electronic health records system (EHR) and chose the Credible Behavioral Heath system. It is a completely cloud based EHR. We wanted all patient records, medications, treatment plans, test results and everything to be digital and available to our case workers through a simple browser. We went live in October 2013. It was a mountain of change for our agency, but worth it.”
Implementing a cloud-based medical records system was just the first step. The next step was equipping case workers with the tools they needed to use this system out in the field.
To solve the problem of bringing services the last mile to patients, Bob devised a portable outreach kit, or as I call it, a "nonprofit in a box" solution. It contains three things:
The overall benefit of mobile broadband Internet access in conjunction with laptops is that mobile case managers can do nearly everything they need to do for people in the community without having to come in to the office.
Case managers can be online constantly with access to their new cloud based electronic health records system and all agency documents while in the client's homes.
Bob says that this has “greatly facilitated client care and our agency productivity."
Bob Cerny buys used laptops from BBC Technology Solutions in Cincinnati for around $250 each. He says “If something happens to the laptops, if they get lost or stolen or badly broken, this used equipment is low enough cost for us to replace them.”
Bob says: “We found about Mobile Beacon a couple of years ago. They’re one reason we love TechSoup, where we found it. What I love about Mobile Beacon is the $10 per month unlimited Internet. Anything else is at least $45 per month. We had to go with some AT&T hotspots to have complete coverage, but they are very expensive. Mobile Beacon is a joy to work with and we prefer their service.”
Murtis Taylor Human Services has requested over 70 Mobile Beacon CLEAR Spot 4G Voyager portable wireless hotspot devices through the TechSoup donation program. These provide broadband Internet access to case managers anywhere in the Sprint network. They also use some AT&T hotspots for areas where the Mobile Beacon devices don’t have service.
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We’re excited to see how our service is helping nonprofits like Murtis Taylor Human Services carry out their missions – this is exactly why we founded Mobile Beacon! The number of health and human services they offer in their communities is more than what seems possible for one charity! We’re honored to support them in this incredible work.
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