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Data Driven Outcomes

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Data Driven Outcomes

by: 
Michelle Saunders, Therap Services

We work in an industry that eschews labels. Providers adapt services and supports to individual needs. Teams individualize service planning and make it their mission to have it be person-centered. Our language is cognizant of labelling and its history strives to be person-first.  In a human services field, we do everything possible to individualize and customize, and the care, dedication and services provided to individuals with disabilities is all the better when personalization is paramount.

Agencies, however, have operating restraints that pull toward standardization. Costs, regulations, schedules, mandates and directives factor into decisions, but more importantly, into the way agencies collect and view their data. The need to present quantitative measures that can positively show an increase or decrease in effectiveness has been at the forefront of the developmental disability field for some time, and both federal funding and state and regional intermediaries like managed care organizations have recently moved toward measuring effectiveness through outcomes, target indicators and multiple national frameworks. This creates quantitative measures of standards, assuring quality through quantitative data. Though with that comes the familiar pulls to standardize, to adjust the way data is collected and services are offered to meet outcomes.

Therap’s mission to create a comprehensive, universal application used in all 50 states and now internationally has placed us in a unique vantage-point for this transition. How to encourage the customization that each state’s regulations demands, while applying a framework that cuts to the essential outcomes each entity needs to see. This is more easily accomplished with universal concepts like reported incidents and expense tracking, but that directive to enable maximum flexibility in how goals and service provisions can be built and customized was paramount in our industry. And the increased mandate by insurers and managed care entities, and new regulations requiring the application of national frameworks as a measure of quality assurance and effectiveness, really built an opportunity to marry those concepts through our latest Data Driven Outcomes feature within the Therap application.

With Data Driven Outcomes, we’re able to apply multiple frameworks of standards to personalized individual service data. Providers are still able to collect data as they are now, individualized and tailored to each person’s needs. However, at the quality assurance level each service program and goal is being labelled with a national framework outcome, or multiple outcomes from multiple frameworks. Qualitative data is mapped quantitatively using these outcomes and indicators, and assigned valuation to measure positive or negative direction in the response. This happens behind the data, keeping service plans and data collection methodology unique and person-centered, all while aggregating different data sets to measure outcomes for national framework, state or intermediary’s mandates, or an agency’s specific indicators. Better yet, those data measurements aggregate across an individual’s data, or a particular program, agency, state or target group of personalized data, without affecting the fidelity to person-centered plans and individualized support. It allows an agency or entity to assess effectiveness between two programs not only measuring two different supports, but wholly different in design, structure and measure. 

Further, the new Data Driven Outcomes module allows agencies to begin aggregating data that they’ve been collecting in new ways. With a custom framework applied to various data, agencies can measure effectiveness toward their own outcomes and design dashboards to report trends aggregated across multiple programs and service provision. What was previously a daunting task of uniquely measuring individual programs against agency goals, factoring variations and measuring unlike services can be a near-real time report once configured. This really opens up opportunities to measure and make educated organizational decisions based on the data direct support professionals are collecting today.

Join us on October 11th at 1pm EST for an ANCOR exclusive webinar, free to members, as we discuss how you can address national framework requirements using the new Data Driven Outcomes module. Jason Laws, Business Consultant at Therap, will present the system’s dashboard reporting, set-up, and open the presentation to questions. We hope to talk to you then!