How education service providers can improve student well-being while improving their bottom line
Written by Ray Sabharwal
Edited by Neil McDonald
Innovation is the key
Digital transformation has expanded academic offerings for students to pursue a variety of courses and educational streams. This has increased the competition for colleges and universities who must attract and retain students in an already saturated space.
For students, in addition to the program details, alumni, and faculty, etc., a sense of security and well-being is now a significant consideration in choosing their post-secondary institution. This awareness of safety is further accentuated for students with disabilities, mental health challenges, or who have been victims of violence or are vulnerable due to other underlying conditions.
Mandated social distancing and reduced or restricted travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic have contributed to a spike in vulnerabilities, accelerating and underlining the need for schools, colleges, and universities to expand their range of services to their students.
In short, educational institutions and providers must adopt innovative approaches to meet the needs of students today.
Being relevant establishes trust
Establishing programs is one of the many steps in attracting and retaining students. Questions such as will these programs be effective, how can they be made efficient, will students adopt them, will they assist us in enhancing student well-being, and how will it benefit the school, college, or university, must be considered.
To ensure that students adopt a program, one of the critical components is the program’s accessibility. It is critical that their engagement process is well thought-out and documented. Establishing efficient workflows is just one way to start the process of supporting and assisting students. It’s important that each student’s process of engagement is expedited in a timely manner, with the proper supports in place to ensure that their issues are captured immediately and in an automated way.
Some students may feel uncomfortable sharing their experiences or meeting in person. Therefore, it’s important to build transparency, accountability, and trust, enabling them to feel comfortable with sharing their experiences to work toward remediation.
Once trust is established, students should be provided with tools that allow them to connect in multiple ways, including remote options, in a space and time that they feel most comfortable. This automation of client engagement will help students report incidents quickly and with more confidence. It will also enhance client data accuracy, since much of the data will be input by the students themselves. With improved data accuracy about those they serve, educational institutions will be able to determine gaps in programs as well as provide support to students when and where they need it.
To be jack of all trades, embrace one size fits all
Student personal health and safety issues include abuse, violence, mental health, disability, and much more. Each of these challenges comes with its own unique circumstances, and education service providers must be equipped to support students no matter their situation.
It would be overwhelming to deploy and manually manage different solutions for every student and type of incident that occurs. By not addressing issues in a timely manner and with appropriate support, however, service providers may risk losing students and, in extreme circumstances, may be liable for legal ramifications.
Multiple educational organizations across North America have deployed Penelope case management software to address these challenges.
The school based Youth Services Program of Preferred Behavioural Health Group in New Jersey had longstanding problems of inconsistent record keeping, lost files, physical storage, tedious and burdensome paper chart archiving, as well as HIPAA confidentiality issues. They provide counselling and guidance to impacted individuals and Penelope helped:
Make their data collection more consistent and streamlined
Store their records in one secure system, eliminating the burden of manual record keeping
Provide access to a flexible system that can be accessed remotely
Their teams collaborate and share information securely across multiple services and locations
Ensure HIPAA compliance and data integrity
Their team now uses Penelope to enter client demographics, referral information, intake assessments, treatment plans, suicide risk assessments, and progress notes.
The Center for Non-Violence and Social Justice at Drexel University in Philadelphia leverages Penelope for their violence intervention program. They wanted a solution that was flexible and configurable to address the ever-evolving needs of their program. With the adoption of Penelope, they were able to quickly adapt their documentation to suit their program requirements. It also enabled them to implement quality assurance measures through workflows, alerts, and action triggers.
SourceAmerica, a nonprofit that assists individuals with disabilities find employment, wanted a solution that could automate workflow and task management while allowing secure collaboration between staff. The Penelope implementation team helped them connect multiple sites and locations with secure role-based access. They leveraged smart forms and data collection tools to pre-populate data to streamline processes and reduce errors.
Schedule a complimentary assessment of your network with a Penelope expert to discuss how Athena Software can assist you in automating and streamlining workflows and creating an efficient ecosystem for your students’ well-being.