FootNotes - January 2021

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What's New in AWARDS
Connect With Us!
A Look at What's Ahead
Exploring the Options - Interoperability
Tip of the Month - Customizing Your Calendar - 5 Small Features That Make a Big Difference
Start the New Year Right - Schedule a Quarterly Help Desk Call Today!
Blog of the Month - FHIR: Mapping Out The Future of Interoperability
Project Expression - Celebrate the Artistic Talent in Your Community!
News from the Field - With Foothold Senior Advisor David Bucciferro
Customer News - An Implementation Success Story to Celebrate!

What's New in AWARDS?

The following new features, enhancements, and updates will be available in your AWARDS database beginning on Wednesday, January 13th.  

Calendar - Additional Enhancements!
Central Intake - Placement Notifications Now Sent to Additional Staff
E-signatures Configuration > Progress Notes - Workflow Enhancements 
Interoperability - HealtheConnections Retrieve Enhancements
Medications - Pharmacy Orders Enhancements 
PATH ARS Report - Updated to Version 3.4

Calendar - Additional Enhancements!

We're excited to release another round of Calendar enhancements this month, including easier access to the scheduling pop-up, an All Staff toggle to allow users to quickly select all staff members at once when scheduling a staff event, and - for agencies that allow conflicting program appointments - selection of multiple clients when scheduling. 

Connect With Us!

For more information on upcoming FootholdConnect events, please go to FootholdConnect on the AWARDS Home screen's navigation bar, or visit the Upcoming Events page of the Foothold Technology web site.  And don't forget... If you've missed any recent FootholdConnect events, you can access the recordings for those in Online Help here!

New Certification Program Webinar! - February 16th @ 2PM ET

This webinar will highlight our newly restructured Certification program and its collaboration with our Administration & Configuration Services. Learn about the role-specific Certification tracks you can enroll in, how to apply, and what to expect from the course. See too, how pairing Certification with Administration & Configuration Services can make a big impact in your AWARDS use and management!

Click here to register!

New! Monthly AWARDS Trainings - Every 3rd Thursday @ 1PM ET beginning February 18th

Each month we will host a 3.5 hour training session on a different critical AWARDS feature set. Come learn how to use ReportBuilders more efficiently, track data faster, correct entry errors, and more!

Sessions cost $350 per person; $280 for Certification graduates; $900 for 3 people to attend the same session; $3,500 per person for all 11 sessions. Please reach out to Natalie at [email protected] for other pricing options.  

       Registration link and session topics coming soon!

A Look at What's Ahead...

As 2020 came to a close, the Product and Engineering Team turned their attention to the process of determining the key development projects for 2021. We are excited to share here the five "Big Rocks" Foothold has set as our AWARDS development goals this year - all aimed at delivering value to you, our customers. While there will still be other projects going on throughout the year, the five goals summarized below will be the driving force behind the work of the Product and Engineering Team.  

#1 AWARDS Redesign

With a Product Designer on board, a key focus this year will involve enhancing the User Interface (UI) - look and feel, along with the User Experience (UX) - workflow, of AWARDS. This will be a long term, iterative process, and one we are excited to get underway. As this work progresses and we have more details to share, we will provide updates here. 

#2 BillingBuilder Rebuild

We understand that our customers are constantly facing new and evolving requirements, at a rapid pace, especially as it relates to billing. As such, the BillingBuilder Rebuild will aim to change the foundation of the module so that it can more easily adapt to your changing and growing needs, thereby improving the way you are able to manage your critical billing work. This will clearly be a large, time-intensive and iterative project, and we are excited to kick it off this year.   

#3 Data Lake

As the Behavioral Healthcare industry moves more towards a world of Data Analytics, we have begun efforts to implement a Foothold Data Lake, which is backed by an Industry leading Cloud Data Platform. The Foothold Data Lake will provide a secure, scalable, high performing and sustainable solution for storing, analyzing and exporting AWARDS data, backed by an easy to understand data dictionary. This work began at the tail end of 2020 and will carry on through 2021.  


To remain a federally certified EHR vendor, which in turn allows all of you to meet requirements from your funders and regulatory bodies, we will be developing the features needed to meet the CURES Act requirements. The key components of this work include updates to the Common Clinical Data Sets (CCDS), enhancements to data export capabilities, and a focus on API’s (Application Programming Interface) using FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources).

#5 AWARDS Cloud Migration

A theme of our "Big Rocks" this year is the drive to become more nimble, which in turn will allow us to reduce the time to market for new features. A key piece of this work is the critical process of migrating AWARDS from the servers we currently host, to instead reside in the Cloud. While this may sound scary for end users, the reality is it will be seamless and invisible on your end. The end result will be improvements all around in what and how we are able to build out new enhancements in AWARDS.

Exploring the Options... 

This section of FootNotes is dedicated to bringing you up to speed on great AWARDS add-ons you may not be aware of!  Each of these add-ons is available on a subscription basis.  Some are also included in the AWARDS Pro and/or Premium packages.

Interoperability - Connected Client Data Means More Comprehensive Care

Interoperability has made a meaningful impact for many Foothold customers, their consumers and communities. We want to help agencies that aren't using or haven't fully implemented interoperability understand the impact it can make at their agencies.  If this sounds like you, we encourage you to learn more today!

  UPCOMING WEBINAR - January 19th @ 2PM ET:  Join us for a webinar to learn about the future of Interoperability in AWARDS and hear from our partners at Odyssey House and HealtheConnections about how interoperability can make a big difference.  Click here to register!

  INFORMATION SHEET:  Check out our Interoperability Center Information Sheet, which walks through the benefits of this exciting product in more detail.

For additional information, please see the Interoperability Center section of AWARDS Online Help, and/or reach out to your Foothold Customer Experience team representative today!

News You Can Use

Tip of the Month - Customizing Your Calendar - 5 Small Features That Make a Big Difference
Start the New Year Right - Schedule a Quarterly Help Desk Call Today!
Blog of the Month - FHIR: Mapping Out The Future of Interoperability
Project Expression - Celebrate the Artistic Talent in Your Community!
News from the Field - With Foothold Senior Advisor David Bucciferro
Customer News - An Implementation Success Story to Celebrate!

Tip of the Month - Customizing Your Calendar - 5 Small Features That Make a Big Difference

Did you know...

...that you can adjust your Calendar settings for a more customized experience? Here are five features you might not be aware of that can help make the AWARDS Calendar your own and improve your overall experience:

  Expand the Calendar view - Want to see a little more space on the page? Try collapsing/expanding the left-hand settings menu for a larger display. 

  Show weekends - By default the Calendar excludes weekends but you can show/hide them at any time by adjusting your individual user settings.

  Make event blocks stand out - By default, all event blocks are displayed shaded in light green with black text. By adjusting your individual user settings, you can customize event block and text colors based on event type.

  Easily switch to a single day view - By clicking on a specific date from the Week, Month, or List view, you will be taken to the Day view for that selected date.

  Easily see kept events - Events that have been marked as "Kept" or "Held" will display a green check icon right in the event block. No more opening the modal window to see the event status.

For more information and instructions on how to change these settings - and many others - click here.

Start the New Year Right - Schedule a Quarterly Help Desk Call Today!

Did you know that Foothold offers quarterly Help Desk calls where your agency can connect one-on-one with experienced members of the Support Team?  These calls are informal, typically last about an hour, and are tailored for you and your team.  We don’t intend for these calls to be live support sessions, but rather a chance to take a top-down look at how your agency supports AWARDS and the role the Foothold Help Desk can play in that effort.  A typical call agenda covers:

  Updates on any current Help Desk requests

  Discussions about recent issues/trends/challenges

  New AWARDS features

  How does your Help Desk work?

  Open Q & A

If you're a member of your agency’s local Help Desk and/or AWARDS administration team and you're interested in scheduling a quarterly Help Desk call, please complete this form. We look forward to speaking with you!

Blog of the Month - FHIR: Mapping Out The Future of Interoperability

Have you heard the term FHIR but have little to no sense of what it is and what it might mean for you as a service provider? If so, then this Foothold Blog Post is for you! Hear what Alex Attinson, Integrations Manager, has to say about FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) and the future of Interoperability. Learn how the CURES ACT components called TEFCA (Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement) and Information Blocking will help FHIR grow, and in turn allow you to successfully share data with new partners and tap into new use cases. Click here to read more

Project Expression - Celebrate the Artistic Talent in Your Community!

We have been holding an art contest series for service recipients commemorating our company's core values and displaying the extraordinary skills and abilities of those you support. The fourth session of Project Expression, representing the core value of Integrity, just began!  Submissions are now open, and the deadline for submissions is February 1, 2021. We can't wait to see your work!  Click here to learn more and download your submission form.

News from the Field - With Foothold Senior Advisor David Bucciferro

The year 2021 brings us a new administration, and with that, new leaders and initiatives. Join Senior Advisor David Bucciferro as he takes a brief initial look at what we might be able to expect in the world of Behavioral Health under the incoming administration.

It is likely too early in the transition process to know exactly what we can expect as far as the long-term agenda of the new administration, but it is safe to assume that 4 key areas will be addressed fairly early on:

  Protection of the ACA

  Additional COVID 19 assistance for education, states (which we can all hope will include money for human service providers) and individual stimulus money

  Medicaid reforms


We can also hopefully expect to see some attention given to the Opioid Crisis, above and beyond COVID efforts, along with Medicaid changes and various healthcare initiatives that will have bi-partisan support.

At this point, it has been announced that the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) nominee is State Attorney General Xavier Becerra of California.  Although there are many names being bantered about for the various agency leadership positions, it is expected that the administration-elect will make sure that Mr. Becerra has adequate time to evaluate potential candidates before any firm nominations are made. Traditionally the HHS director is named before the agency leadership positions for CMS, ONC, DEA, and others. As we hear more about these leadership roles, we will share information with all of you regarding who the nominees are and what agendas we expect them to bring forward. 

The President-elect is known to have been a friend of behavioral health in the past, and there is every reason to expect that this support will continue moving forward. Early on, we will be keeping watch for executive orders and attempts to develop bi-partisan efforts at reforms, such as lower drug pricing and transparency in healthcare billing.

As we learn more, we will continue to share with you. Until then, let's make 2021 a great year!

Customer News - An Implementation Success Story to Celebrate!

Implementing a new EHR system can be overwhelming, time-consuming and challenging on a good day. Embarking on this work during a global pandemic, facing a backdrop of program closures, funding gaps, and serious health and safety concerns for staff and clients, can be downright impossible. OHI of Maine managed to conquer all of these challenges and with the help of their Foothold Implementation Consultant, succeeded in an agency-wide AWARDS implementation during an incredibly challenging period. 

OHI, based in Maine, is a not-for-profit organization that provides supports and services to people with intellectual disabilities, autism, and mental illness. They have been in operation for 40 years and currently support approximately 600 individuals in six Maine counties. OHI works to offer people with disabilities the resources they need to make life choices and set their own goals. They do this through a variety of Mental Health, IDD, and Housing programs, along with a Clubhouse, Food Pantry and Professional Development program. The driving philosophy behind OHI's work is that everything is possible, and that everyone can achieve happiness and success with the right supports and services. 

In February of 2020, OHI signed on with Foothold to implement AWARDS across their programs. By July they were ready for staff to attend training, and shortly thereafter, their Mental Health programs were successfully up and running live in AWARDS! In addition to using the core modules in AWARDS, OHI has also implemented the BillingBuilder, and in November their Mental Health Residential programs began using the CaraSolva e-MAR in AWARDS. As an agency, they have used other EHR systems but this is the first time they have implemented their medication administration and incidents documentation in a database. Following the success of their Mental Health programs, the IDD programs began using the Nightly Absences feature, the Incidents Module, and various FormBuilder forms recently, and plan to go live with everything else in January, and wrapping up their rollout in the early spring with CaraSolva. 

Mary Dunn, the Director of Quality Improvement at OHI noted that the AWARDS implementation process went smoother than expected, especially during a pandemic! She noted that AWARDS use will save OHI hours when it comes to billing, compared to how they were doing this work previously. 

Specific areas of AWARDS they find particularly useful and user-friendly include the FormBuilder, ReportBuilders, Client History Report, and Online Help options. They also appreciate the flexibility that the PlanBuilder tool offers to make changes on their own as needed, and love the Charting Timetable feature and related alert messages. As OHI continues to move ahead with additional AWARDS usage, they are looking forward to having a one-stop shop for all client data in their AWARDS database.