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Effectively collecting data and managing it is one of the biggest challenges facing nonprofit, municipal, healthcare and other service-oriented organizations. Data is often maintained on paper, in spreadsheets, or in various databases that don’t talk to each other. In essence, much of an organization’s critical information is managed in isolated data silos.
This lack of integration causes all sorts of problems within an organization — highly inefficient workflows, costly human error, slow service delivery, and demoralized employees, to name a few. When you change your perspective to looking across cooperating organizations, the number of challenges increase and become more complex. This impacts the speed and quality of service delivery because providers aren’t able to see the complete picture of an individual’s situation. They are “blind” to valuable information that would enable effective care coordination and other types of support.
Technology tools exist that can help solve complex data problems, but most are expensive and require tech-savvy people to implement and manage. Small and mid-size organizations typically don’t have the budget or personnel to take advantage of them organization-wide. Instead, a point solution designed to address a specific problem or a single department’s needs is acquired, often without an analysis of its impact to other departments or ability to connect to other systems in place. Over time, multiple point solutions implemented independently can turn into a data management mess. Data sprawl and cyber vulnerabilities are two of the more common, problematic results.
On the other end of the solution spectrum, a data platform is designed to address multiple use cases across departments and organizations. Flexibility is key in a system like this to allow for both independent and integrated use. For example, two collaborating organizations with the same underlying data challenge may have very different workflow, integration, and reporting requirements. A well-designed platform can support both scenarios and do so without expensive customization needed.
Altrulink functions as an integrated data system and an approach for collecting, aggregating, sharing, and reporting data owned by one or more organizations. It holds particular appeal to organizations in need of a solution they can roll out quickly and inexpensively, where complexity is minimized, self-serviceability is high, scalability can be easily achieved, and flexibility is very high.
The platform and approach are designed to affordably and efficiently link individual-level data from organizations that work together, such as funders, grantees, healthcare providers, and local government agencies. Technical expertise never hurts but isn’t required to administer the system. Altrulink can be fully managed by non-technical people who understand their data and the outcomes they are seeking.