Healthcare and Social Assistance

Multiple state-wide mental health programs get the Project Lab touch

We first met with the team at Baptcare at a sustainability conference. We talked through some of the amazing mental health, family services and aged-care programs the not-for-profit offered in the community. And also, about how best they could reduce waste in their processes and give their clients the best possible experience and outcome.

We got talking with Ash Vincent, the Operations Manager, which lead to our team at the Project Lab running a short and sharp discovery session to get a better understanding of Baptcare’s goals. Both to understand their process pain points, and how we could work together to help them deliver their services in a more people-focused and effective way.

The challenge: to transform and standardise the operations of crucial mental health programs

Baptcare wanted to remove barriers so that their staff could maximise the time spent with clients — to do what they do best. This meant improving and standardising processes and procedures, workflows, roles and responsibilities, including onboarding and induction processes, training and communication.

They also wanted to make sure staff felt valued and heard, and as a consequence, deliver a better service.

“It was a great opportunity to address complex process issues, create a better experience for staff and maximise what they’re good at — working with people,” says Ash Vincent, Operations Manager, Baptcare.

To kick off, we needed to gain a deep understanding of the client experience and to identify efficiencies to be gained. We did this by journey mapping three federally funded, state-wide programs in Tasmania.

  • Connections focuses on the mental health needs of clients who won’t qualify for NDIS from 1 July 2020 when several state suppliers will cease their current services. As part of the government’s ‘no-one left behind’ initiative, Baptcare were granted funding to provide services for these people. Aiming to move them into either their Connections program or an NDIS funding position if possible.
  • The second program we looked at was a question & answer call line for anyone in Tasmania who needs mental health advice and provide them with linkage to support services. The line is staffed by people who know the local environment and systems.
  • And the third, Horizons, delivers short term programs for people with severe mental illness, providing individual and group work.

Baptcare background

Baptcare runs multiple mental health programs that are either state or federally funded.

One of their most successful and recognisable programs is Foundations — a unique program that helps clients proactively manage their mental health, keeping them out of hospital beds and providing deeper, ongoing care and support.

Their other key program is Choices which is a intensive 3-month program helping consumers get back on their feet and into their own housing.

Both programs are very successful. But across the organisation, as with many not-for-profits, staffing levels were under pressure. Baptcare wanted to refine their assessment and onboarding processes for staff and clients and better understand the participant journey to make sure their programs met their goals and delivered quality care.

“We wanted to map the client journey through three of our programs, so they were really person-centric. We wanted to understand the experience of our clients in those programs so we could improve our processes and make sure we’re offering the best possible experience,” explains Ash.

A snapshot of project activities

We set up a flexible team at a fixed price to work with Baptcare, with a 2-week discovery piece, followed by a 6-month implementation of operational improvements. Our project team was led by Project Lab experts — Lee Gillam as Project Manager, and Avantika Negi as Business Analyst.

We needed to deliver tangible artefacts including client and staff journey maps, program packs with SOPs (standard operating procedures), how-to guides, induction for staff, gap analysis and a rectification plan for each program. We also provided Baptcare with branding and marketing assistance towards the end of the work. Here’s what we set out to achieve:

  • Identification of program pain points through journey mapping, clarifying the client journey map, touch points, and opportunities for refinement
  • Refine existing program working materials to better reflect the needs of funding bodies and clients
  • Update workflows, processes, and access to program data for practitioners, streamlining the day-to-day operations for all stakeholders
  • Providing consistency in materials and processes through each of the three programs, reducing rework and duplication of information
  • Review the capability of Baptcare’s current business systems to centrally host data and program artefacts
  • Assist in providing clarity on the differentiation of the current programs for practitioners and clients
  • Reviewing the use of a high-performing digital approach to service delivery (learning from the changes to working due to COVID-19)

Key questions and activities

As part of the initial 2-week discovery session, we worked with Ash and his team to confirm the grant requirements of the three in-focus projects, with Horizons being the number one priority, then Connections.

We determined how the programs aligned with Baptcare’s strategy (Baptcare’s head-quarters is inVictoria, with a Tasmanian presence to deliver these programs).

And we also developed a recovery implementation plan for the programs to the end of 2020, with progress markers shown before the end of March.

Key goals

“The gem is to understand the user journey, so it’s clear to our staff what they need to do”, says Ash.

Our goal was to help Baptcare implement their programs before the end of the year, to bring clients onboard in a well-structured, considered way, aligned with their strategic direction. This needed to be underpinned by refined processes and modern guidelines.  

The detail

We kicked off the implementation with the user journey mapping, as this feeds into the manuals and other process documents we would put together. We also started out early with data and information centralisation because this could impact timelines.

The Project Lab team worked with a large number of Baptcare stakeholders over the 6-months. We ran a significant number of interviews, carried out process mapping, and gathered system and data management requirements.

We dug into every step of the support process within each program and documented the client and staff journeys to better understand the emotive and persona-based pain points.

“The skill of the Project Lab team was that they helped us take complex processes and concepts and make a better experience for clients and staff. They looked at our business model, mapped what we’re good at and helped us refine our strengths for the new COVID-normal world. By putting an agile lens over our mental health program, staff could see the value in the process, and the organisation got value for money,” adds Ash.

Through this work, we delivered clear SOPs and operating manuals (Program Packs) providing:

  • Clear explanations on the why, what and how of each mental health program
  • Confidence to federal and state funding bodies that the program, delivers on its intended benefits and has a positive ROI for the community, and
  • Information that enables Baptcare to consider strategically if they want to launch similar programs based on a ‘rule book’ and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
““The Project Lab worked really closely with us to make sure change management was considered. It was really clear that their approach is to build capacity, not just design then cut and run. Their work can be fully integrated into everyone’s day to ensure maximum buy-in,” notes Ash.

Throughout the process our team managed to capture multiple differing views and stakeholder ‘ways of working’, adapt those as needed, and then reintegrate them back into the workplace in the most productive way. Our objective of carrying out state-wide surveys and interviews in the middle of a global pandemic was not without its challenges, but we were able to move ahead with a little persistence.

Ash was particularly pleased with the documentation:

“The Project Lab produced amazing products and tied all efficiencies into a new program guide. All the efficiencies and work will be sustainable and built into our way of working. Amazing journey maps, staff procedures, programs on a page, user journey maps — very beautiful documents that convey complex concepts and processes in a simple and digestible way. We can share these products with people with severe mental illness who don’t need added complexity. We can explain simply and elegantly what they can expect from us on their journey, through our journey. We’re over the moon with the journey maps.” 

Baptcare enhances the delivery of its mental health programs efficiently and effectively

Through our partnership, Baptcare now has increased confidence in their ability to deliver three more robust mental health programs to Tasmanians in need, in a cost-effective way. They have streamlined, consistent internal processes and are able to better support their staff in delivering their services.

Plus, they can articulate their evidence-based approach to position themselves to take advantage of future opportunities.

“The Project Lab’s work really highlighted our strengths. The agile methodology and human centred design have allowed us to look under the hood at the DNA of our programs to understand what we do well and why. And then to be able to articulate what we do to clients and funding bodies.”

Baptcare staff now have clear and consistent processes to follow, leading to better job satisfaction and improved service for their clients.

“Staff have the tools and processes they need to do their job more effectively,” Ash confirms.

Funding bodies can see the ROI for each government investment, through clear user and staff journey maps and tangible operational outcomes detailed in the Program Packs.

And for Tasmania, there is better access to mental health services previously unavailable in the state through Connections, Horizons, and the question and answer helpline (TasConnect).

“The Project Lab has a fantastic, professional approach. We worked together across most of the year and they’ve been a delight to work with. We know that they believe their work can create meaningful change. They have a social ethos as much as a corporate one — you feel that they care, they take pride in their work and want to achieve a great outcome as much as the client does.”

The team at the Project Lab are ready to work with you to transform the way you work and deliver your services.

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