Springfield agencies will soon get software to better connect and serve

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Springfield agencies that provide everything from food to healthcare will soon be better connected. It's part of a project called Connect Springfield.

Soon, Community Partnership of the Ozarks and several other agencies here in the Springfield will be connected through a common software called Service Point that they believe will help them better serve the people in our community.

One Door, Springfield's one stop housing center, already uses a version of the Service Point software, along with other agencies that help the homeless.

"It really streamlines the process. It reduces duplication, and it really does prioritize individuals for the resources that we have available in our community," says Michelle Garand, Vice President of Affordable Housing and Homeless Prevention for Community Partnership of the Ozarks.

Now, a $300,000 dollar grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health will provide the software to connect sixteen Springfield agencies offering a wide variety of services.

"Our goal is to have a one-stop-shop eventually, so when someone appears at an agency for help, then we can capture their demographics and who they are. They don't have to tell that story over and over again if they go to a different agency," says Steve Everest, Connect Springfield Project Coordinator for Community Partnership of the Ozarks.

The software is HIPPA compliant, and will just share basic information, but also allow referrals. "A referral could actually be back to Jordan Valley, could be back to Cox, back to Mercy. It's a bi-directional connection, so if one of these agencies says someone needs medical help, they can refer them electronically, so when they get to that place of service, they're known to that service provider," says Everest.

"Being able to do that while the person is sitting across from you is magic; it will make all the difference," says Garand.

The virtual tool should make accessing services easier for those seeking help. "We think that by connecting the agencies, making it a smoother process for the client, and making it easier work for the agencies, they can handle more clients and and can smoothly handle them and hopefully help reduce our poverty rate in Springfield," Everest says.

Folks at Community Partnership say they should be connected to the software by the end of the month, and they hope to have eight of those agencies connected by the end of this year.