VT HMIS Software Transition
Snapshot of Migration Work:
- Users Trained: 375
- HUD CSV: 2
- Each CSV included 14 files for a total of 28 files
- Custom Files Migrated: 10
- Reports Created: 45
- Includes: System Admin reports, Funder Reports, Coordinated Entry, NOFO, Grant Applications, and Governor requests
- HelpDesk Interactions: 4,306
System Admins have also updated guides and held trainings for multiple different program types, funding sources and reporting.
Examples of these are:
- Basic Data Entry
- Coordinated Entry
- State Funded Programs
Wow! We have come a long way since April 2022!
We had originally set the Go Live date as May 1, 2022, however with the hard work and diligence of ICA staff and the Bitfocus team, we were able to get the system ready before the anticipated date!
What does this mean for HMIS users?
Currently, the system is going live on a very basic level. Users can begin to enter data collected during the blackout period, update files as needed and enter current, and ongoing data.
What is required before gaining access to the system?
Any previous or new HMIS user MUST complete the Basic Data Entry Training, Coordinated Entry Training, and the Privacy and Security Training before gaining access to the system.
What do I do if I want access to the live system now that it is available?
If you have completed all three required trainings, then you are able to have access to the live site! ICA has a list of users who have already completed the required trainings and will be setting up those user licenses first - if this is you, please know we are working on getting you access and will be sending an email to you once that is complete.
- If you still need to complete trainings, please do so and then you may request access to the live site here:
- Access will be given on a first come first serve basis. ICA will be working diligently to get all folks access as required trainings are completed. We appreciate your patience during this mass onboarding time.
Start entering data! If you were a user of ServicePoint previously, keep in mind that this system is not comparable to what you are used to (in a good way!) It will take some time to get used to, and even with the Basic Data Entry Training and ICA resources, you will have plenty of questions. Lean on ICA to help you navigate this new world. Please reach out to us as much as needed with questions/concerns at the Help Desk and attend office hours for the opportunity to talk through your questions one-on-one with ICA staff.
- Login and change your password
- Gather paperwork and information for clients that entered your programs during the blackout period
- Review the Basic Data Entry Guide and CE Data Entry Guide
- Search for clients in Clarity
- Add any new clients in Clarity
- Enroll your clients in your Agency's programs
- Add any notes, record services, add file attachments, etc.
- Exit any clients / household from your Agency's programs that left during the blackout period
Remember, your System Administrators are here to support you! We will make ourselves available as much as possible to help steer you through this process. We understand that this is a learning curve for everyone, so we will be here to help guide you.
What is available on Day 1?
Historical data you will see on day one:
- All the HUD UDE’s that are listed in the HUD Data Standards Manual (except 4.19 and 4.20), including:
- Program Enrollments
- Program Updates
- Program Exits
- Income, Non Cash Benefits, Disabilities and Health Insurance
- Chronic Determination Data Fields
- See HUD HMIS Data Standards for full details: https://icanewengland.helpscoutdocs.com/article/265-hud-hmis-data-standards
- Funding Types: ESG, ESG CV, CoC, RHY, SSVF, PATH, HOPWA, Coordinated Entry
- Program Types: ES, TH, SH, RRH, PSH, OPH, SSO, SO, Prevention
- HUD required Services
- Shelter Stays for Night by Night shelters
- Coordinated Entry Assessment Data
- VT HOP Specific Data Fields
- VT Family Supportive Housing Data Fields
- NH State Grant in Aide Data Fields
- Custom Services that are not required by HUD and Federal Partner funding
- Manchester ESG /ESG CV Performance Report services
- Services that are specific to an agency and not federal funding
- File Attachments
- Complete all data entry necessary for programs by the end of the day on Thursday, March 31.
- Take Clarity HMIS training as it becomes available.
- If needed, generate any required reports on March 31st.
- Keep up to date on all the changes by reading the newsletter and ICA website regularly.
- On April 1st, we wait to securely receive the last “severance” file from the prior vendor. This file will take a few hours to generate as it contains all the system data. Since the first is a Friday, it is possible that the file doesn’t arrive until sometime on the weekend.
- Once the file is received, ICA data team members convert the file into the appropriate format for the new database. This should take a couple of days to complete as the computer works through the process.
- Once the file is in the right format, ICA securely sends that file to Bitfocus. This process can also take a few hours, depending on file size and internet traffic (side note, a lot of this process relies on internet traffic and network speeds. Any disruptions on the internet will slow the process down).
- Once Bitfocus has the final file, they will analyze it for structural and format issues. If there are no issues, they will schedule it for the initial build of the database. This file includes all the HUD data elements, and is “bones” of the system upon which all the other data and activities are built upon. This process, if things go as planned, can take four to seven days. If there are glitches or issues this part of the process can take longer.
- Once the initial system build completes, ICA staff are given a test version of the database to access. This is an all-hands-on-deck process where the system is reviewed as thoroughly as possible and practical, to ensure that data are in the right providers, fields that are expected to be completed are filled in, data visibility is correct, etc.
- Once the initial import has been reviewed and approved, the vendor is given the green light to have the system “go live.”
- Once the system is “live,” ICA staff begin the process of creating user log-in profiles. Since we anticipate approximately 150 users to be needing to be created from scratch, this will take some time before each user gets access (Note: while the system is building for the first time, nobody can have access to it, not even ICA staff).
So, the most efficient and affordable option is to operate without an HMIS for a few weeks.
|System Configuration and Set Up
|Data Transformation - Test Site
|Review of Test Migration
|Last day to enter data into ServicePoint
|Final HUD CSV File pulled
|Data Transformation - Live Site
| Live Migration
Data Entry Blackout Period
|New User Trainings
- Dates are subject to change.
- Factors that we cannot predict may cause a delay in one or more parts of the work that needs to be completed
- ICA will provide a paper intake form and a Google Form for data collection during the data black out period.
- All data must be entered and current by 03/31/2022. If it is not, you will not have a chance after 03/31/2022 to enter it till the Go Live in Bitfocus Clarity.
- Starting 04/01/2022, ICA will pull reports that are needed:
- SSVF Export
- ESG CV
- RHY Export
- HOP Quarterly Report
- FSH Quarterly Report
- There is a lot of detail that goes into each step and the above timeline is a quick glance for our users. If you have questions please reach out to the HelpDesk.
- Staff are working on templates and visibility. And hope to move onto creating Agencies and Programs in February
- Continuing weekly meetings with Bitfocus team to go over questions and progress.
- Tentative timeline has us at a go live in Bitfocus Clarity for May 2022.
- Staff has a goal of having the system configured by end of February, so test migrations can start in March.
- Staff will be able to start creating some training resources in March/April
- Staff started creating custom fields (data elements) and screens.
- Working with The Bitfocus team to make sure fields and screens are set up correctly. There are multiple different configurations that can happen with these, so staff need to find the best for the NH site, which means creating one field or screens with different configurations and testing each out. This takes a time to do an staff want to ensure that the system is set up the best it can be.
- New User Training in ServicePoint has been suspended so the ICA staff is able to work on the following, though this is not a complete list:
- System Performance Measures reporting
- Longitudinal System Analysis reporting
- Set up of the Bitfocus Clarity database and start migration timeline
- Point in Time
- Housing Inventory Chart
- Be present at CoC and Committee meetings
ICA staff are continue to analyzing custom data elements, custom picklists and reports to see what we need to re-create in the new database.
In the next few weeks, we will be able to start creating fields (data elements), screens and templates. These will be what users see when they enter data for a client.
ICA is meeting with the Bitfocus team weekly.
We have at Live link and training site link. We started System set up and are working on learning the lingo for all the features that we will need to set up so users are able to enter data.
ICA staff are also analyzing custom data elements, custom picklists and reports to see what we need to re-create in the new database.
- BIG NEWS! ICA and Bitfocus Clarity have signed a contract!
- We will start working with Bitfocus to start the System set up and learn more about how the database functions.
- Both VT CoCs have approved the to have a joint HMIS with New Hampshire!
- All 3 NH CoCs approved a joint HMIS with Vermont
- The Chittenden CoC voted to switch HMIS software from WellSky Community Services (ServicePoint) to Bitfocus Clarity!
- The VT BoS CoC voted to switch HMIS software from WellSky Community Services (ServicePoint) to Bitfocus Clarity!
Where it started in 2020...
At the end of the summer of 2020, the Vermont CoCs voted to do a HMIS software review, on the VT HMIS Advisory Committee's recommendation.
In the fall of 2020, the VT HMIS Advisory Committee and ICA, proceed to create and send out the Request for Proposal (RFP) to 5 of the top HMIS vendors:
- Bitfocus Clarity
- Foothold AWARDS
- WellSky Community Services (ServicePoint)
The RFP included the following:
|Scope of Services - Hosting and Maintenance
|End User Training Site
|Demonstration Site for RFP, as well as for System Updates and Changes
|System Security and Privacy
|Outages in Past Year
|End User Security and Privacy
|Planned System Updates
|Data Integration, Exchange and Access
|Data Quality Tools
|Usability and Other Features
|Summary of Cost
|API, ODBC or Direct Database Connection
After each vendor submitted their RFP, demos with each vendor were scheduled; a demo for User Experience and a demo for Reporting.
All together the members and ICA staff participated in 10 demos from January 2021-Febrauary 2021 taken about 25 hours for each committee member and ICA staff. Each committee member filled out a rubric for each demo.
These scores were used along side the RFP information to inform the committee members as to which software might be the best for their community.
In the spring of 2021, the Vermont CoCs voted to switch HMIS software to Bitfocus Clarity, on the VT HMIS Advisory Committee's recommendation.
Bitfocus Clarity was chosen due to the following:
Is consistently the top choice for CoCs conducting RFPs across the country
Leader in technology innovation
Built to be a HMIS
Has picked up market share due to other vendors loss
Positive customer reviews
Ability to negotiate cost and other aspects of the contract