How to make Apricot actionable: Tasks, To-dos, Reminders, and Quality Control [Video]
Which clients need follow-up?
What tasks are up next on my to-do list?
How can I manage the tasks associated with my caseload?
These are common questions in the life of a direct service provider. Whether you need to log an assessment on a regular interval or complete a status check every 30 days, having a reliable task management system can make an impact on your productivity and time management.
In this video, we cover how to transform your Apricot database into a business application geared toward efficiency and productivity. We look at the key features that make Social Solutions Apricot 360 and Apricot Core a dynamic web application for managing caseloads, navigating treatment plans, and achieving client outcomes.
- How to configure dynamic dashboards and bulletins with reminders
- How to use email triggers to send notifications and reminders
- How to assign tasks and reminders to others
- How to ensure required steps in service delivery are completed
Welcome to this video on “How to make Apricot actionable: Tasks, To-Dos, Reminders, and Quality Control.” This is an exciting video because we will cover some of the top ways to make the most of Apricot. I am glad you could join us.
I’m Jeff Haguewood, an Apricot software consultant at Sidekick Solutions. At Sidekick Solutions, we help new and existing users make the most of Apricot software. We do the heavy lifts in Apricot software so you can focus on what matters most to you.
This video is about taking your Apricot from a database to an everyday productivity app. During this video, we will:
- Define the Apricot tools you can use to build workflows from scratch
- Share seven ways to prompt users to take the next action
- Explore how to surface information that might feel buried in Apricot
- …and then wrap up with key takeaways and questions
Alright, let’s dive in…
Most users will comment that when it comes to data entry, Apricot is intuitive and easy to use. Entering data into forms generally “makes sense” to most users.
Once data is entered into Apricot, most users rely on the Tier 1 search and the Tier 1 document folder to organize and find information. While those two features are powerful standard tools, they don’t always give users the information needed to take action in Apricot.
Data can often feel buried in Apricot and using Tier 1 search or the document folder relies on users remembering their tasks and to-dos Apricot or managing them outside of Apricot altogether, which isn’t ideal.
- How do I know which clients require follow-up?
- What assessments do I need to complete and when?
- Are my clients on track with our program model (example: fidelity)?
- How can I remember to keep my cases up to date?
More directly, how can we use Apricot to make it even easier for users to know what actions to take, when to take them, and plan next steps before they creep into the overdue bucket.
First, we need to understand the vocabulary and tools available to us in Apricot. Some of these tools are standard and some are premium features.
When it comes to making Apricot actionable, what do we have to work with?
- Form design (specifically field choices and linking that build conditional logic)
- Logic and conditionality in reports (specifically, creating dynamic reports and user tools with custom report expressions)
- Bulletins for centering actionable data upfront for users on the Apricot home screen
- Email triggers (specifically, using them for immediate and delayed notifications)
Second, before you start building actionable tools, we recommend mapping your workflow in three steps:
- Diagram or write your workflow
- Identify trigger or pivot points
- Build and test
Step 1: No need to overcomplicate this step, either diagram or write your workflow and its component logic.
Step 2: Once you have a workflow, next identify the “trigger” or “pivot” points in your workflow. A “trigger” or “pivot” point is a break in a workflow where a user must reengage to continue the process, like a 30 day break between follow-ups or waiting for a client’s status to shift before completing a new service. These are the areas that we want to prompt users to stay on track. These are the points where we need to build tools to make Apricot a productivity app.
Step 3: Build your solution and test it. We generally follow a build with a 30 day follow-up and then transition to maintenance. We will start this process over if the assumptions of the workflow change substantially.
Now that we have a solid foundation, let’s cover our seven use cases. The vocabulary we are using to describe these configurations will make sense as we review each one.
1. Active status dashboard
What is it? – The Active Status Dashboard organizes clients or prospective clients by specific criteria like caseload, open referrals, or active roster.
Why does it matter? – Searching for active clients by assignment using Tier 1 search takes time, time that can be saved by simply listing the information upfront. You can also plan and manage resources and keeping clients upfront helps case managers maintain touch.
2. Follow-up based on two dates (with or without calculation fields)
What is it? – A follow-up indicator is generally located on the bottom of a form identifying when a next activity is due and also when that next item is complete. This can be used to build an upcoming and overdue task list.
Why does it matter? – This is a yes/no, complete/incomplete indicator with no workaround. You can increase client engagement by simply logging non-record follow-up using this method.
3. To-do based on two dates on same form (start)
What is it? – Instead of a post-activity follow-up like the example we just shared, a to-do could pre-empt entry of a full form. This is best if the next action to complete is a separate form or record (which differentiates it from the follow-up example). For example, logging that an assessment is needed in 30 days before completing the full assessment.
Why does it matter? – This allows users to self-prompt the next action without conditional logic and is best for “tasks” in Apricot. This format helps users plan next steps.
4. To-do based on last created record of same type
What is it? – The last created record option is a dynamic, conditional prompt baked into the Apricot structure. Users cannot overwrite or circumvent this format. The system automatically identifies the next action based on the previous action.
Why does it matter? – No manual action is required, the tool updates dynamically based on new data entry over time. This method supports infinite recurring tasks, scaling with actions that have a prescriptive logic.
5. To-do based on program model
What is it? – This is another dynamic option using report filters and conditionality to find when the next item is due. This is generally date based across forms like an initial assessment or release of information or a discharge without a final assessment.
Why does it matter? – Reinforce program fidelity with standard reports that assign to-dos based on condition and don’t disappear until they are resolved. Can create workflow without access to the workflow tool.
6. Conditional data quality reports
What is it? – Reporting that shows users where they need to correct a gap or complete a step. Logic dictates inclusion in the report so it is removed from the report when it is resolved. An example would be activity or service record that fall outside of an enrollment window or clients with more than one enrollment.
Why does it matter? – Get data quality in the hands of end users. Allows users to step away from data quality and let systems manage (always on).
7. Email triggers
What is it? – Email triggers are immediate notifications when a record is saved and a certain batch of criteria is met. Conditional trigger.
Why does it matter? – Email triggers are the only external integration platform we have available to us at the moment. We can use this with 3rd party tools to prompt next actions.
Note: These examples are hacks to a system and are a bit outside of the box.
Default to immediate action like data quality criteria missing or to review and approve a workflow step
In summary, there are a few things we hope you’ll take with you when implementing actionable systems in your own Apricot.
- Users shouldn’t need to remember to do something, that’s what the software is for
- Productivity tools are dynamic, updating based on new conditions
- Don’t overload users with tools, keep to the core and refine
- Start by identifying gaps in your current workflow with mapping
That concludes what I wanted to cover for this video. To learn more about Social Solutions Apricot software, you can explore our Youtube channel or visit our website. Also, if you like our approach to Apricot and would like to work with us, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our door is always open. Thank you.