Magazine article Policy & Practice

Idaho Simply Seeking to Help Families 'Live Better'

Magazine article Policy & Practice

Idaho Simply Seeking to Help Families 'Live Better'

Article excerpt

Ask yourself this ... "what is the role of a health and human service agency?" The list of administrative responsibilities is a mile long but when you think about what we are trying to do, it is fairly simple ... we are here to help families "Live Better."

Each family seeking help has a unique set of circumstances that limits that family or individual from reaching self-sufficiency or stability. It might be health issues, job opportunities, child care, substance use disorders, affordable housing, education, training, or many other factors. The problem is not that the services or programs don't exist to address these multiple challenges, but rather our ability to connect people to them. There are a plethora of services in our states designed to address these challenges for families. Through state and federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, local community programs, and faith-based organizations, many services have been designed to help children, adults, disabled individuals, veterans, seniors, and other vulnerable populations. Providers need a better way to reach those seeking their services.

Creating a connection between families and individuals and services typically takes two forms: people travel to different locations and interact in many ways or agencies integrate services in a single location in an effort to serve all who come looking for help. Both connection strategies require herculean effort by the family or the agencies, yet neither is very effective. We must approach solutions from a multigenerational and a multiservice approach and we must connect families with a unique set of services that address their own special circumstances. Without this right combination of services, families and individuals may be missing the key ingredients to their own successful transition to stability.

Live Better Idaho (livebetteridaho. org) provides a simple way to connect people to services. It is designed from a customer-centric perspective with a vision that our community members feel empowered to discover services within their communities to improve their lives. Families or individuals should be able to walk into any agency at any location and connect to the existing umbrella of services that exist to help their unique situation.

A few key principles guided the development of Idaho's solution:

* Create simple navigation to allow customers to take actionable steps to access services

* Organize content with an intuitive customer-centric design

* Organize services to help customers discover programs and services that fit their unique circumstances

* Allow content owners to create and maintain their own content with minimal administrative overhead

* Ensure use of the website is intuitive and agencies can use the content to help anyone

* Design outreach and actionable steps so they can begin from any location or any agency

* Implement solution with lightweight technology allowing full integration for all services

* Allow content providers to organize and share their services at no monetary cost

* Provide a cost-effective solution with reduced governance and administration

Through these key principles in our design strategy, we have created a customer experience that allows individuals to search and discover services that exist in their communities without reference or preference to an agency or organization. …

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