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Posted Tuesday, April 28, 2015 by Team Northwoods

Brunswick County DSS Replacing Paper with Electronic Document Management

Software to help agency boost efficiency and service to community

DUBLIN, OH—April 28, 2015—Brunswick County Department of Social Services (DSS) in North Carolina is replacing its cumbersome paper-based processes with an electronic document management and appointment management software solution to boost efficiency and service to clients.

Brunswick County DSS will utilize Northwoods’ full suite of Compass® software to streamline client appointments and lobby traffic, manage client and case information in the office, and access and update documentation and photos from the field.

The county has experienced the second highest increase in population and social services caseloads in the state – a 123 percent increase since 2008. Coupled with the stressful nature of social work, Brunswick County DSS needed to find a way to increase efficiency and focus employees’ time and efforts where they are most needed, working directly with clients, while still being cost-effective.

Social services work is a high-stress, demanding job that comes with high turnover rates. Reducing the paperwork burden reduces stress on workers, which improves retention rates and ultimately improves service to families.

"The agency was at a crossroads and I needed to make a decision to find the balance between spending more time on cases and less time documenting. We're constantly putting more demands on our staff. With the amount and type of work they do, it’s great to have this opportunity to provide tools that will actually help them do their jobs," said Catherine Lytch, director.

In addition to helping caseworkers in the office, Northwoods’ mobile document management solution, Compass®CoPilot, will help mobile social workers access and update documentation using an iPad® app from the field, rather than using paper forms and documents. The mobile app allows social workers to spend more time with families by reducing the time they spend completing required paperwork. Time spent in the field with families is the best way to improve safety outcomes, reduce reoccurrence and establish permanency for children.

Electronically tracking cases and clients will also give the agency new metrics to make key business decisions.

"I’m excited about all the data we’ll get that will help determine ‘Do we need more staff? What are our time measures?'" Lytch said.

The project kicked off last week and will be completed by the end of the 2015. Brunswick County DSS will be the first agency in the country to use Northwoods’ cloud-based document management software solution, which meets Brunswick County’s overall technology goal to store information in the cloud.

About Northwoods 
Northwoods’ only focus is helping state and county human services agencies increase client service levels and productivity while cutting costs — allowing them to do more with less. Northwoods’ human services software solutions are designed around caseworkers and social workers, not simply data collection. Our Compass®products automate the flow of client and case information based on how caseworkers throughout the agency need to use it. Northwoods already partners with 37 counties across North Carolina and over 100 around the country. Northwoods is headquartered in Dublin, Ohio. For more information, visit or follow Northwoods on Twitter @teamnorthwoods.


Tiffany Himmelreich

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