Gov. Ricketts, Health and Human Services Unveil WIC Journey
Taylor Gage, Governor’s Office, 402-471-1970
Leah Bucco-White, DHHS, 402-471-9356
New technology enhances client experience for Nebraska women and children.
LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced new reforms to enhance the client experience for women and children in Nebraska. From paper to paperless, manual to automated, lag time to real-time, modern technology for DHHS’ new Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Journey Program means efficient and client-centered service.
“WIC Journey is an example of how process improvement and the latest technology helps us put people in need first,” said Governor Pete Ricketts. “WIC Journey is more efficient and user-friendly, which allows WIC staff to interact more with families. Thank you to the team in the Division of Public Health for their work to help Nebraskans build better lives.”
The WIC Program provides healthy food along with nutrition counseling and breastfeeding support to Nebraska families in need. WIC Journey is a new system that helps administer the WIC Program across the state through 13 local WIC agencies that provide services at 106 clinics reaching more than 37,000 Nebraskans. It replaces an outdated computer system from 1997.
Key WIC Journey Benefits:
- Paperless Processing: The new system is automated and paperless eliminating the need for 23 paper forms that staff and families had to complete during a WIC appointment.
- Customer Service: More face time with clients. More efficiencies in the system and fewer forms allow staff to focus on services for families and walk clients through the process in person. Clients used to spend more time filling out forms which meant less contact with staff.
- Clear Instructions: Health prompts in the system cue WIC staff, nurses, and nutritionists to touch on specific health and nutrition topics which help focus discussion on personal strategies for healthy behaviors.
- Extended Hours: More clinic hours equal more appointments. Some WIC clinics used to close on certain days to complete paperwork, those clinics have now replaced paperwork with client appointments. Six clinics added a total of 38 additional appointment hours a month.
- Networked Clinics: WIC Journey means 100 percent of WIC clinics are connected to the system. Previously only 25 percent were. The connectivity means WIC staff can access family records and appointment schedules from any WIC site, and families can call into any WIC clinic to schedule an appointment which eliminates additional phone calls for families and staff.
- Financial Planning: WIC checks are easier to use. Checks issued from Journey are dated from the beginning to the end of the month which makes it easier for families to remember when to use their checks and easier for WIC stores to process the checks. Old checks would start on the day of the month the family received the checks and end 30 days later.
- User Friendly: Decrease in help desk tickets. After implementing user-friendly Journey, help desk tickets from clinics needing support decreased 18 percent – 260 calls with Journey versus 319 calls with the old system over a two month period.
“This was an opportunity to make the WIC Program even better and build on client service,” said DHHS CEO Courtney Phillips. “It moves us toward an even more customer-focused state government and enables us to focus on our mission, ‘Helping people live better lives.’”
What WIC families are saying about Journey:
- “Much more efficient! I love not having to sign the check register and the appointments go much smoother!”
- “I really like getting the printout sheets with information that I need to remember or share with my doctor.”
- “It is amazing how much faster the clinic check-in time goes with the use of the new system.”
What staff at WIC clinics are saying about Journey:
- “Love the new system! Journey is so user friendly and allows us to better serve our clients!”
- “The time the clerks save to check a client in and update the required information has been amazing, this allows more time for client education.”
- “We now have the ability to make appointments at any time for clients regardless of the clinic they attend, this makes it so much more customer friendly since clients don’t have to leave messages and wait for return calls.”
- “Where do we start—this computer system is amazing! Journey has streamlined most functions. We are more efficient at making and looking up appointments, for sure!”
The WIC Journey System cost $3.4 million which was federally funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. To learn more about the Nebraska WIC Program, go to http://dhhs.ne.gov/wic.