“eCASS has brought huge benefits as a way to record and report on actual contact time, outcomes and progression of clients… feeding into a larger statistical gathering exercise providing timely and relevant information to funders and policy makers.”
Development Worker With The North Eastern Regional Drugs & Alcohol Task Force
The NERDATF North Eastern Regional Drugs & Alcohol Task Force funds and supports four drug and alcohol services located across Louth, Meath, Cavan and Monaghan. In partnership with ENCLUDE and Quality Matters, the eCASS (electronic Collaborative Addiction Services Solution) was customised to the needs of each local project as well as the specific needs of the Task Force. eCASS is an ambitious information management project which currently involves 72 local addiction service around the country, and their funding and support agencies – the Task Forces. The NERDATF, is one of 5 Task Forces who are involved in eCASS.
The project aims to support services to share data about substance misuse in their area and to enhance understanding of service user needs and substance misuse trends across a wide geographic region.
Thinking strategically, NERDATF proposed a common data set in partnership with their funded addiction services. This data set fulfils statutory reporting requirements for the National Drug Strategy and the Health Research Board.
At the start of this project, all addiction services agreed to this common data set, which ensured that all participating organisations collected the same information. This data set included key metrics which have potential to answer important research questions. This included data on assessment details, demographics, and substance misuse trends, gaps and blocks that negatively affect service users. All data collected is shared with the Task Force anonymously and does not include any personal details, like phone number or home address.
A Salesforce CRM solution was developed, leveraging the ten free licences that Salesforce.org make available to eligible charities.
In the implementation phase, staff and managers were trained to use their customised eCASS system to effectively gather data about their service users and service delivery. Using Salesforce has helped services to develop custom reports that analyse data to supports improvements in service provision.
In the final phase of the eCASS project, data from local addiction services was shared with the Task Force. To support this process, the NERDATF consulted with local addiction services and developed a memorandum of understanding to clarify the terms and scope of eCASS project; this meant that quarterly reports are shared electronically with the Task Force
The eCASS system supports each service to manage and record all their work in one system, including client care plans and assessments, keeping staff diaries, as well as supporting automatic report generation, and sending of reminder texts to clients.
A recent evaluation of eCASS showed that the system significantly improves:
- 96% of respondents reported that eCASS improved how services show the range of their work.
- 91% of respondents said it helped managers to have oversight of staff work.
- 89% reported that eCASS had provided information to support improvements in their work.
- 87% (n=39) reported eCASS had increased consistency of service provision in their service (i.e. staff are more aligned in their work).
- 84% (n=38) also reported that eCASS had improved communication between staff and management
Over the next year, the Task Force plans to begin analysing this data to share important learning with service providers, identify emerging substance misuse trends and support improvements in service delivery and provision.
North Eastern Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Force 1
Castle Street Kells
www.nedrugtaskforce.ie [email protected]