Community Information Sharing System

United Way champions and coordinates the Community Information Sharing System (CISS) for human and social services throughout Olmsted County using Pathways Compass.

Too often, non-profit agencies each acquire and maintain their own information systems. This practice leads to many difficulties including using limited resources inefficiently with diverse technology systems, double-dipping by clients due to lack of community wide communication, redundant information, and excessive intake time for organizations and clients. The CISS model is designed to overcome many of these challenges.

CISS results in reduced intake time for agencies and participants, reduced information technology expenses, increased time for direct delivery of services, higher quality referrals, and achieving greater community impact through information sharing.

The tool used in this effort is PATHWAYS COMPASS, developed by Pathways, Inc. It was founded in 1998 with assistance from IBM's Teaming for Technology Initiative in partnership with United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta. Nationwide, Pathways supports communities across seven states, helping 430 organizations coordinate services for a total of 120,000 people annually.

During the past ten years, Pathways has demonstrated that client intake and case management across multiple agencies using a shared cloud computing application leads to reduced administrative costs for technology, software management, and intake personnel.

While clients receive goods or services from several specialized agencies, their basic information is collected only once, enabling participating agencies to work more efficiently and generating community-wide data that is useful for measuring progress toward community goals, quantifying local needs, evaluating community-wide initiatives and allocating community resources.

CISS delivers cloud computing, back-up, security, and outsourcing to human service agencies at a very low total cost without requiring technical expertise in the organization. This moves many organizations from less sophisticated use of technology, to being on the forefront, realizing productivity gains through technology.

Currently CISS is used by approximately 20 organizations in the community to coordinate services for more than 25,000 individuals.