A Technology Resource for Torture Treatment Programs
The Client Data Toolkit is a way for Torture Treatment Programs to organize and share resources for client data management. The more participation we have, the better the site will be. Please join with us to share your wealth of resources for managing client data in a torture treatment program. Together we can make this a rich resource of tools, documents, databases, best practices, and lessons learned.
Why Do We Need a Client Data Toolkit?
Torture Treatment Programs have unique client data management needs that are significantly different from most medical and behavioral healthcare clinics. These needs are generally not met by commercial off-the-shelf software. For that reason, most programs have developed their own custom designed system for managing client data. Some of these systems are very basic while others are quite sophisticated. Yet all of the systems have been designed to produce similar output for managing client services, measuring outcomes, and reporting to funders. Because of the similarity of our services and reports, we can all benefit from sharing our experiences and learning about the different solutions that we have each developed for collecting, securing and analyzing our client data.
How Do I Participate?
Take a look around the site. Think of any resources or idea that you have to share with your colleagues. Submit them to the webmaster for the Heal Torture website. It's that easy! Ready to begin? Let's start by taking a look at your current client data management system.
What Kind of System Do You Have?
In the treatment of torture survivors it is essential to keep a complete set of client medical records. These records contain valuable information that will be used by many people both inside and outside of the organization. Client Data Management Systems come in all shapes and sizes. Basically, it boils down to the way you collect, organize, analyze, retrieve and report client information, whatever that may be. Your system could be made of paper and pencil or hardware and software, it doesn't matter. The information may reside on paper charts in a filing cabinet, on a computer network, or both. That's okay too. It might not work for any other torture treatment program. It doesn't have to. It only has to work for you. That's what matters. The real questions to ask yourself are:
- What kind of system do you have?
- How well does it work?
- Will it continue to work far into the future, even if the current staff and volunteers are gone?
A well designed Client Data Management System is a powerful tool for building organizational capacity. It helps programs with limited resources do more with less. Creating a carefully planned system that will work for many years to come is one of the keys to increasing efficiency and improving the quality of your client services. Well designed client data reports derived from a consistent and reliable system instill confidence in the organization and encourage continued funding from donors.
The rest of the pages on this wiki will guide you through the process of evaluating your current client data management requirements and developing a system that can meet those needs. Before you begin that process, it might be helpful to review some of the features that are considered the hallmark of a good system.
What Can a Good Data Management System Provide?
- Executive directors have appropriate reports, charts and graphs necessary for strategic planning.
- Clinic managers have detailed analytical information for decision making and resource allocation.
- Clinicians have quick and confidential access to the complete client history.
- Inter-disciplinary team members have the ability to easily collaborate on client services.
- Clients have correct appointment scheduling, counseling and medical billing services.
- Client advocates and lawyers have background information necessary to assist refugees with resettlement.
- Researchers have aggregate data needed to contribute scholarly writing to the field of torture treatment.
- Public Policy staff have accurate statistics to create talking points used to lobby congress.
- Funders have thorough reports that accurately reflect outcome measurements.
- Office Staff have the ability to keep up with the fast-paced digital information challenges of the 21st century.
- Technology Support Staff have the ability to back up and recover the system in the event of a disaster.
- Database Developers have the ability to enhance the system as data collection and reporting needs increase.
Check out the next section of the toolkit: Planning: The Importance of Project Management