AIRS conference, 2014, Atlanta GA. When CT 2-1-1 suggested a triage for food banks or soup kitchens, we said, absolutely! When do you want to start?
Since then, we've been hard at work building a fully automated triage that mirrors the experience of live help! How does that work? Simple! Connecticut residents can text "ctsoup" to 898211 and the automated triage will immediately query them for their zip code. Then, based on their response, the Smart Triage will send the most appropriate and closest referrals to their phone. Each encounter is fully documented and archived in the system and it looks just like an I&R encounter! In fact, the end user may never know the difference.
The Perfect Solution for High Contact Issues
We feel this tool will be particularly useful with high contact issues. For many 2-1-1s, there are certain issues that make up the majority of the calls they receive over the year. For example, in a recent conversation with a 2-1-1 in Ohio, I found that 80 percent of all calls were related to one of two issues: food or energy assistance! And the very same referrals are being distributed over and over again. So, wouldn't it make sense to automate some of these encounters? We think yes! With Express Text Utility we know we can help lift some of the burden off the phones freeing specialists to focus on more demanding encounters.
Of course not all contacts can be managed with an automated triage. Some of our earliest data comes from crisis hotlines and these agencies would never consider providing an automated referral to an individual who may be contemplating self-harm or suicide. This type of encounter will always need human contact, whether it's a live voice call, or a live text session with a counselor, crisis support and the issues that lead up to emotional crisis will always necessitate live communication.
However, 2-1-1 contact centers respond to every different kind of need, pretty much anyone seeking social services would benefit from contacting 2-1-1 at some point during their help-seeking process. When the same information is being transmitted at at a high frequency there's a tremendous need for additional support. Express Text Utility has a major role to play in high-frequency, low-level encounters, such as referrals to food banks, energy assistance, tax preparation programs, and childcare to name just a few.
You may be asking the question, what if someone uses Express Text and for some reason they don't get their needs met? That's the beauty of PreventionPays Text! Anyone at any time can request help from a specialist. In fact, our clients and their constituents have always taken comfort in knowing (with PreventionPays Text) live help is always just one click or one text away!