Home and Community Options, Inc.


Light Speed Grant Recipient

Peter Walsh, Project Coordinator

Project Update


July 22, 2008



We had an exciting time sharing our progress with Bill Coleman a few weeks ago.  He came to visit so we could do a little “show & tell”.  Some of the staff who participated in our classroom training were there as well as staff who helped develop our eFile program.  The staff gave Bill a tour of the eFile program and explained that we had developed and integrated these Outlook, Excel and Word templates to reduce the amount of manual writing, to improve accuracy and to improve communication among the team that is providing care within the program.  The staff engaged well with Bill and were quite animated in sharing how much the training provided by Blandin and the Blandin support of our eFile development helped spur this project along.


As the staff were sharing some of the details of the program I could not help but to feel very proud of their accomplishments.  Having worked in the systems integration field for 15 + years I know how much creativity and persistence something like this requires.  These are professional care givers, not software integrators, who had a vision of a paperless system and were not put off by the “I don’t think you can do that.” response of the “experts” to whom they turned for help.  They were relentless in their quest and would accept help from whoever was available.  They got a lot of assistance from part time staff – college students – who were also excited about the possibilities.  This project has also affirmed a leadership model of empowering direct line staff to be creative.    These are some very sophisticated solutions and ones that I think could benefit other agencies like Home and Community Options; we do hope to find a way to share them.


After showing off the eFile system we reviewed the Remote Monitoring application.  The IP cameras acted up a little ( of course they worked just fine after he left). but we were able to demonstrate an alarm being triggered, the system calling a staff, the staff indicating that they could respond to the incident and the system patiently waiting the allotted time for the staff to log in and indicate that they were on site and resolving the incident.  I will share more on our Remote Monitoring System next time as we are just finishing the installation of our equipment in a test home. 


Gary Evans, CEO of Hiawatha Broadband our matching fund partner, attended our gathering and shared HBC’s plan to provide fiber to the household for all of our Winona based program sites.  Gary conveyed the excitement HBC has about being involved with Winona Non-Profits and HBC’s plan to eventually bring FTTH to all of Winona.  This will open up many more potential applications and we are already beginning to explore partnering on a project with our Public Health Department.  I think there is an exciting future for Non-Profits as FTTH becomes more available and they continue to seek ways to improve care and reduce costs.  We are thankful for the assistance we have received from the Blandin foundation.

light speed communityThe Blandin Foundation is supporting four standout broadband programs through the Light Speed program. The program’s purpose is to stimulate the deployment of bandwidth intensive applications that connect local institutions to area resident’s home. This post comes from a Light Speed community leader.

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