Tuesday, November 17, 2015

An Interview with TestNotice’s John Coggeshall

From time to time we here at the CTB want to make our readers aware of new products and services. In this post we talk with John Coggeshall, Co-Founder of TestNotice that provides notification services for drug and problem solving courts.  The service also has other potential uses.


Q: “In a ‘nutshell’ how does your system work?”

A: We like to think that TestNotice platform is the premier provider of technology services to specialty courts engaged in random drug testing nationwide. To participants we provide automatic push notifications via text message or phone call of their random testing requirements daily, and to the courts we provide testing schedule management in accordance with NADCP standards. On the TestNotice platform a court can manage their entire set of participants, easily create a truly random calendar that still is manageable from a staffing perspective, and significantly increase compliance by notifying a participant directly at a day and time of the court’s choosing when they must submit to a test.

Q: “We hear a lot about cloud base systems, what are the advantages of your approach?”

A: Everything about the TestNotice system from the ground up is designed and built to be reliable and extremely easy for both court officers and end users/offenders to use. We use the same technologies as the biggest brands in the world from financial institutions to consumer products to make sure our system is as reliable as possible. Our text messaging, automated phone system, and management platform is second to none in our industry.

Q: “How does your system help judges and probation officers to monitor persons assigned to testing?”

A: It’s all about accountability and creating a communication channel directly between the courts and the offenders that just has never existed before. With our platform court officials can not only have an unprecedented level of confidence the offender was made aware of their testing requirement on any given day, but that the offender acknowledged the notification. It makes it much harder to make excuses when an offender was told and they know the courts know that. Even if an offender calls in to see if they have to test, our automated phone system matches their number to their user records so we can tell exactly when and how long they listened to our daily message because we verify ownership of every phone number in our system. To top it off, the platform allows a court officer to send a population special announcements, delivered directly to the offender’s phone. This is really useful, for example, with one of our customers who needs to cancel testing on a given day occasionally due to in-climate weather.

We also enable testers, courts and testing centers to pull reports that provide complete transparency into the schedule from the past and the notifications that corresponded. This takes out the guesswork and the heavy lifting in proving what was and was not done.

Q: “In which states has it been used?”

A: We currently provide our platform directly to court systems for districts in Nevada, Oklahoma, Minnesota and we are starting a pilot statewide in South Dakota. Additionally, we have been providing the service for several private sector testing centers who are spreading the word to their colleagues. What we are really excited about though is the responses we receive when we get to speak to a new court, because not only do they get excited about what this platform can do to make their program management so easy; but they often bring in neighboring jurisdictions immediately to participate. When they learn it can cost the courts nothing on top of that it’s really more of a question of why wouldn’t you use our platform.

Our random calendar generation functionality has really interested our court partners, as it takes so much of the pain out of administering their programs. It allows them to create truly random testing schedules and still manage the limited staffing resources they have effectively.

Q: What else do you think that this approach could be used for in the justice system?

A: Speaking to a court officer a few weeks back he surprised me when he said that it’s often more likely an offender has a phone than a permanent address. I think that speaks a lot toward how technology has changed the landscape of government interaction with the people on all levels. With that in mind, direct-to-individual communications like we provide may not entirely replace traditional “snail mail” methods but I do believe it will become the first and primary means of communication for all but the most formal things. From jury duty, to simply announcing things like when court is in session or a specific case is being called we are building products to make the justice system more approachable and easier to deal with for everyone.

Q: Any other parting words of wisdom?

A: One of the best things about bringing technology into the justice system is how it makes everyone’s life, from the individual to the judge, better. It was a major driving force behind the creation of our products, and it’s really exciting to be at the forefront of that in this particular space. We are really looking forward to continuing to drive some of that innovation in the months and years ahead because it always leads to a net improvement for everyone involved. Change isn’t always the easiest hurdle to overcome, but I think we’re continuing to demonstrate how the right idea can make what once seemed completely unapproachable basically a no-brainer.

You can reach TestNotice with any questions you might have at hello@testnotice.com, or John directly at john@testnotice.com.

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