The Board of El Paso County Commissioners honored 12 County employees with “Innovation Awards” at the regular meeting on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.

The program began in 2014 to encourage and reward a spirit of innovation among County employees. Award nominees are required to meet one of the following criteria:

  • Innovative change in a current process or service that resulted in a distinct and quantifiable improvement
  • New project that has improved customer service or addressed an unmet need
  • Innovative idea that resulted in a significant cost savings

Nominations were made in conjunction with a dozen different projects. Those nominations were made by County employees and submitted to a committee for evaluation to determine the winners. The 12 winners worked on three of the projects.

Mary Bartleson, Kelly Lindgren and Colleen Odermann of the Clerk and Recorder’s Office, were honored for their work in bringing the MVExpress kiosk to the Motor Vehicle office in 2017 to provide customers an easy, convenient way to renew vehicle registrations. The benefits of the kiosk include:

  • Allowing customers to avoid the counter wait; served 13,540 customers to date
  • Reducing staff time; providing the ability to redeploy 2.5 technicians to service more complex transactions
  • Providing customers the opportunity to renew any hour, any day (24/7 kiosk availability) at multiple locations
  • Providing cross-county functionality, allowing residents of one county to renew at a kiosk in another county

“This is very innovative and another unique way that we serve our citizens and improve our already legendary customer service. All three of these people are magic makers and made this project happen,” said Clerk and Recorder Chuck Broerman who nominated Bartleson, Lindgren and Odermann.

Mike Hrebenar and Dennis Archuleta of the County’s Planning and Community Development Department were honored for their roles in building and launching the Electronic Development Application Review Program (EDARP), which is a web-based program that allows land use-related applications to be submitted by developers, builders, commercial and industrial businesses, and other landowners to the County for review in an electronic format. The benefits of EDARP include:

  • Cost savings of approximately $2,000 per development application
  • Time savings for industry staff associated with compiling applications
  • Cost savings to the County associated with eliminating the need to mail application referrals
  • Reducing the application process by as much as one week
  • Increasing the accessibility of information on applications for industry and County staff
  • Increasing public transparency of development applications
  • Increasing the ability of other County departments to have varying levels of interaction with development applications

“Today we get to honor a project that changed how we do business every day. There has been a seismic shift from the volumes of paperwork that we used to get, to now 100 percent electronic. That is not a little thing,” said Planning and Community Development Executive Director Craig Dossey.

Devi Almklov, Vanessa Miller, Shannon Rowe, Carrie Swihart, Robin Trujillo, Robyn Weber and Haley Zachary with El Paso County Public Health were honored for their work on the Video Recorded Directly-Observed Therapy (VrDOT), which helps people who have Tuberculosis disease (TB) and must be treated with the correct medications, and, in certain cases, the treatments must be directly observed by trained nurses. The requirements for directly observed therapy are cumbersome, costly, and can extend the time of treatment because it can only take place on business days. VrDOT utilizes a smart phone application to view live or recorded sessions where a patient is shown to be taking TB medication according to the treatment plan on any day, at any time of day. Benefits VrDOT include:

  • Improved adherence to TB medication requirements by reducing barriers to treatment
  • A 3,000 percent increase in improved staff efficiency by reducing home visits
  • Cost savings associated with reduced mileage and travel time spent by nurses (average of $35.70 per home visit)
  • Preventing the spread of TB by supporting TB patients with the completion of the regimen of required medicines (already a 100 percent completion rate of enrolled patients)

“This is a project that this team took on to be more efficient and provide better service to clients. The goal of VrDOT is to prevent the spread of TB in the community by reducing barriers to treatment for patients required to take daily medications. It is for public safety,” said Susan Wheelan, Deputy Director of El Paso County Public Health.