Administrative processes such as data capture are often pushed aside as sexier and more exciting projects take precedence. But there are much cost savings to be made in these routine processes - and greater accuracy and quality may be an even more valuable reward.
Volunteer work is growing dramatically, and it's commonly in areas where availability funding to support administrative costs is low, and/or priorities lie elsewhere.
This leads to the common situation where data collected on volunteer activity is not accurate and can have the flow on effect of less funding being made available, critical information being lost or inaccurate.
This situation was made clear when volunteering with my dog at an aged care facility, meeting with elderly residents who were at different levels of care. Each visit would need to be documented; who was visited, for how long, what was discussed, the attitude of the residents and whether future visits were to occur. Visiting a number of residents, sometimes in a group, sometimes individually, whilst walking around handling a dog and casual conversations with staff, residents and visitors - made it hard to keep accurate records. Summarising the visits at the end of the time was time-consuming, inaccurate and often missed. This inconsistent reporting was collated by staff and transferred into individual patient records. As often reported as a group, this information was cut and pasted multiple times.
A simple web based form was created, with minimal fields. Accessessed via a mobile phone a simple "click" in the start time field prior to walking into a room would capture the current time and date and the phone would go into my pocket. At the end of the session, the phone would come out and another "click" would identify the end date and time. A few check-boxes identified which resident/s was seen, scored the visit with a number of KPI's and submitted. A report was automatically emailed to staff with dates/durations/ kpi's, with separate emails per resident.
The outcome was almost instantaneous, accurate and personalised reporting, with less time spent on the administrative tasks.
The set-up of this was minimal.