Increased Efficiency in Service Delivery for Individuals Affected by Alzheimer's Disease

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Alzheimer's Association - Greater Michigan Chapter
City & State:
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

The mission of the Alzheimer’s Association – Greater Michigan Chapter is to enhance the quality of living for all persons affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia related disorders by providing leadership, programs and services, advocacy awareness and research support.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

Alzheimer’s disease is the public health threat of the 21st century. There are an estimated 5.3 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias today, and that number is expected to grow to as many as 16 million by mid-century. As the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research, the Alzheimer’s Association is dedicated to eliminating Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to providing and enhancing care and support for all those affected; and to working to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. We envision a world without Alzheimer’s disease.

In order to achieve its mission, the Alzheimer’s Association – Greater Michigan Chapter offers the following programs throughout the 60 counties served by the Greater Michigan Chapter: Adult Day Programs, 24-hour/7-day telephone Helpline, In-home Respite, Educational Workshops, Counseling/Care Management, Caregiver Support Groups, Medic Alert + Safe Return – Wandering Registration Program, Advocacy, and Reference/Resource Libraries.

The GMC experienced significant geographic growth over the last seven years due to the mergers of multiple local Alzheimer’s Association Chapters. The Greater Michigan Chapter currently has 7 offices/program locations throughout the 60 counties served by the Chapter. The Chapter has always struggled with securing and maintaining up to date software and hardware in order to have “secure and stable technology” organization wide. Up until the last year, it has been common for each office to be independent in terms of data communication and networking and for any networking sharing between offices to be limited and unreliable. These unreliable systems lead to extensive duplication of data, documents and an inefficient use of staff time. Some key examples are that things were being mailed hard copy then reentered into another database, or documents were being emailed between offices as the primary means of document sharing.

In order to address an increasingly significant problem which created significant inefficiencies in providing quality service to those affected by Alzheimer’s disease, the Greater Michigan Chapter identified the most pressing technology needs for the organization’s ’09 fiscal year by comparing the goals of the organization’s technology plan and strategic plan. Once these two plans’ priorities and goals were aligned, the Chapter management staff outlined how to best utilize technology improvements in order to improve programs and services provided to persons affected by Alzheimer’s disease and which donations through Tech Soup would be allow the GMC to make these key technology improvements.

The GMC received the following products from techsoup in order to move forward with the technology plan for the agency in FY09.

· Windows XP Professional Upgrade

· Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition

· Office 2003 Professional

· Windows Server Device Client Access License

· Symantec Antivirus Corporate Edition 10.2 (75-User License)

· Windows Terminal Services Device CAL (25)

With the purchase of Microsoft software the overall infrastructure of the GMC Network has improved in addition to the performance level of staff with compatible applications agency-wide. The communication of the Association has improved with the enhanced connectivity between the Main Office, Adult Day Program and Regional Offices. The upgrade has also assisted with the overall compatibility with the technology in the National Office. The National Office has upgraded to Microsoft Office 2007 products and that has added another level of challenge with compatibility even though patches are available through Microsoft.

As a result of the technology and communication improvements that the Greater Michigan Chapter has been able to implement, the following changes have been experienced and have lead to improved service delivery to those affected by Alzheimer’s disease:

  • The consistency of programs offered by the Greater Michigan Chapter has significantly increased as there are no longer multiple versions of programmatic documents being used throughout the Chapter. The consistency of the programmatic documents and implementation mechanisms utilized throughout the Chapter ensures that individuals affected by Alzheimer’s disease receive the same information and level of service throughout the Greater Michigan Chapter regardless of if they live in a rural or urban service area.
  • Due to the implementation of the new Microsoft software, the Greater Michigan Chapter is in the final planning stages of a conversion and upgrade to an online real-time client database implemented and supported through the National Office. The Helpline Application will improve and enhance the overall contact system for the 24 hour/7 day telephone Helpline agency-wide by providing real-time data access to all offices and the ability for the caller to directly enter the caller information into the database.
  • With the increased connectivity between the different offices and program locations of the Greater Michigan Chapter, Chapter staff are able to more efficiently serve clients as each staff now has the ability to track a client’s needs/progress via a shared network.
  • The new professional educational module “Foundations of Dementia Care” was implemented throughout the entire Chapter with documents being shared via networking as opposed to emailing various versions of documents between the staff and offices involved in implementing the new program. This allowed the program to be simultaneously implemented throughout the Chapter instead of having some of the regional offices in the rural communities be delayed due to not being part of the main Chapter server network.
  • The Chapter now utilizes an on-line forms site for management of Chapter forms in order to ensure that all staff are utilizing the most recent forms and increasing the speed and efficiency with which paperwork is completed throughout the Chapter by having them submitted and then filed electronically. Not only does this represent a gained efficiency, but also a cost savings both in the reduction of mailing completed forms between offices, but also a reduction in the staff time spent entering data from hard copy forms into the Chapter’s central client database.
  • Additionally provided on the on-line forms site is the Employee Orientation/Policy Manual for the Chapter. Staff members no longer need to keep large binders with hard copies of all agency policies and procedures, but have the binder available electronically. Updates to the Employee Orientation/Policy Manual is completed by two staff rather than attempting the updates throughout the agency involving multiple staff. The purchase of an Adobe Pro 9 through Tech Soup made this agency improvement possible.

Without the support of the Microsoft donations from Tech Soup, the Alzheimer’s Association – Greater Michigan Chapter would still be struggling to provide critical services in the most efficient manner possible to the constantly increasing number of individuals affected by Alzheimer’s disease or other related dementias. As the Greater Michigan Chapter’s plans for the ’10 fiscal year of aligning the technology plan and strategic plan continue, the success of these plans is possible due to the resources available through Tech Soup and Microsoft.

Submission Category
Stable and Secure Technology
Project Image
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