BETTER CONNECTIVITY THROUGH INTEROPERABILITY

Systems of care, multi-disciplinary teams, family response assessments: significant undertakings within child welfare, are all woven together with a consistent, unifying thread. They are models of child welfare practice that seek to gain a complete view of a child, youth and his/her family. This guides decision making and better outcomes. Another vital way such practices have been enhanced is through data sharing or exchanges across multiple disparate computer systems from a range of human service organizations, i.e. interoperability.

Not long ago, the 2016 CCWIS ruling bolstered this by requiring the bi-directional exchange of relevant data across child-serving agencies such as education, courts, behavioral health, etc.  This heralded the tremendous benefits of interoperability to the health and human service community.

CareDirector is the only child welfare information system in the world to be deployed on the Microsoft Dynamics platform.  It fully supports compliance to CCWIS’ interoperability rules. Technically, our solution has what is needed to provide states with the capability to meet and exceed the requirement. It enables agencies to improve efficiency, saves them time and effort; thereby resulting in higher cost savings. Beyond that, as a child welfare software provider with 20 + years of experience, we fully understand that interoperability is not simply about pieces of data flowing from one system to another. It is about deeper, better connectivity into the client’s world, so caseworkers can develop holistic case/service plans that fully support the needs of the child, youth or family. Yes, the cliched phrase is quite true: it breaks down silos within and across agencies. Yet, it is much more.

With over 20 years singly focused expertise in child welfare, CareDirector’s interoperable capability breaks down silos between workers and families. With timely data at their fingertips from various systems that inform them about the family and their participation across systems, less time is spent searching for information. Instead, more time is now spent understanding the readily available, comprehensive information to make better decisions that impact outcomes for families, youth and children.

Dr. Ann Knefel

Child Welfare Specialist

revenue cycle management

5 Lessons for developing a mobile workforce

Over the past five years or so, mobile capability has become an important consideration by health and human service agencies to enable their workers to function more efficiently while in the field. For caseworkers, their office is essentially everywhere so they need to be able to access vital information anywhere, any time. CareDirector Connect is a secure, native mobile case management solution that can help an agency’s workforce become mobile. It allows workers to spend less time on paperwork and more time with children, youth and families.

However, before transitioning to a mobile workforce, it is important consider the following:

  1. Keep employees informed.  Agencies must develop a mobile implementation strategy outlining how they are going to improve the agency’s workflow, efficiency and outcomes, and share this with all employees to reduce resistance to the new approach.
  2. Align your policies to the new workflow strategy. Agencies must review and address any issues related to human resources policy and practice guidelines to fully maximize the benefit of the mobile devices and ensure that utilization by workers complies with federal, state and local regulations.
  3. Ensure your infrastructure and mobile devices complement each other. Hardware and software investments must evolve alongside mobile device implementation. Developers need to think about how caseworkers access and use information on the go and that the mobile devices will be used to facilitate service provision.
  4. Utilize other departments. Mobility can be a priority for different departments at various levels of government. Look outside the agency for support. State-level information technology systems and human resource agencies can assist with procurement, security, application development, human resources policy development and other operational needs.
  5. Listen to your caseworkers. The people that will be using the mobile devices know best what is needed, so listen to your caseworkers about what they need from the beginning of your mobility strategy. This will save agencies a lot of time and money.

Read the full article here.

With our mobile solution, CareDirector Connect, case workers can work online and offline, to prepare for client visits, conduct investigations in the field, and complete case notes, assessments and forms. Our app easily integrates with an agency’s existing health and human service system or it can be part of an entirely new technology modernization initiative as agencies replace old systems with CareDirector’s comprehensive platform. To find out more about the CareDirector mobile solution, please register here for a tour here.

Case workers want mobile technology

Despite overwhelming availability of modern mobile technology in one’s private life, professionally, most child welfare workers do not have access to basic case and client information in the field. This continues to affect their ability to effectively serve children, youth and families while keeping up with the burden of case documentation. In recent years, workforce mobility has become an increasing priority for child welfare agencies. At CareDirector, we listen to our customers and offer a secure, native mobile case management solution called CareDirector Connect that enables case workers to spend less time on paper work and more time with children, youth and families.

Implementing CareDirector Connect can also improve child welfare service provision and delivery, while making caseworkers’ jobs easier. Here are some key benefits of our mobile solution.

Reduce time spent on paperwork

Locating paper files and re-keying information upon returning to the office can consume up to 30% of a caseworker’s day, causing frustration and reducing efficiency in addition to reducing the amount of time case workers have available to spend with children, youth and families. CareDirector Connect mobile app would address this problem.

Provide real-time accessibility to information in the field

Despite carrying paper files and documents into the field, case workers often find that they may still lack the necessary forms or information. This contributes to creating inefficiencies and generally, inhibits caseworkers from managing their time effectively. With CareDirector Connect, case workers can bring all case and client information with them into the field anywhere, anytime, both online and offline.

Spend more time with families and children

Child welfare caseloads are increasing, but the number of case workers is not. This leads to less time available for each case, and places a heavy burden on agencies and workers, putting families in crisis at even higher risk. CareDirector Connect can help save case workers time, enabling them to spend more time with each case and achieve better outcomes for children, youth and families.

Eliminate worker burnout

Due to high caseload and rising pressures for documentation, child welfare caseworkers are at high risk of burnout and low job satisfaction. This, while stressful for caseworkers, also places a tremendous burden on agencies and the people they serve. CareDirector Connect, with its built-in workflows, helps make information more accessible and reduces worker stress to create a more enjoyable, rewarding job environment.

Collect accurate data and maintain data quality

Current data collection processes and systems often do not align with how caseworkers actually work. As a result, caseworkers find themselves asking clients to repeat information, which can negatively impact productivity. CareDirector Connect enables forms to be configured to match agency needs and business practice. It stores information all in the one place so case workers can easily locate any information they need.

Through our relationships with customers, CareDirector has seen first-hand that mobile technology designed by and for caseworkers can enhance the quality and efficiency of services provided. Ultimately, we provide a flexible, proven solution that helps caseworkers spend more time with children, youth and families. To find out more about CareDirector’s mobile solutions, click here.

Read the full article here.

 

5 lessons for implementing predictive analytics in child welfare

In child welfare, one problem is the accurate identification of children at risk of maltreatment, work that requires a gauge of not only immediate risk, but also the future likelihood of harm. Predictive risk modeling (PRM) offers new and exciting chances to solve entrenched problems like this. PRM enables child welfare staff to identify earlier those individuals who are at long-arc risk of adverse outcomes and help them avoid the adverse event.

Rhema Vaithianathan, Co-Director of the Centre for Social Data Analytics at Auckland University of Technology, shares five lessons she has learned about implementing PRM.

Fully Integrated Data is Not Necessary

An accurate and useful predictive model can be built without fully integrated data, as long as we can access a comprehensive, state-level child welfare data set with sufficient historical information, we can build an adequate predictive model.

Frontline Practice and Priorities Must Lead

Not all possible uses of PRM will be ethical or desirable. Each model is built for a specific use and for a specific jurisdiction, and will be validated accordingly. So before embarking on building a PRM, it is important for the leadership of the county or state to set parameters on how it will be used. Established practice can run deeper than an agency is aware, so rather than looking for high levels of change in frontline practice within a short time frame, we should look for a trend of continuous change in the right direction.

Ethics and Transparency are Never “Done”

Ethical governance needs to be built into the agency for the lifetime of the tool; regular ethical reviews are essential for the maintenance of community support.  As the project continues, transparency should also be revisited often to make sure that the tool is understandable to the community, agency and frontline workers. If it is not transparent, it is hard to gain necessary trust and support.

Expect Methodology to Evolve

A natural evolution of methodology should be expected and encouraged up to and after the implementation of a model. Looking carefully at the performance and usefulness of the model as it takes shape should cause a regular review of the choice of methodology.

Independent Evaluation Sharpens the Focus

The fact that a predictive model will be independently evaluated helps to build trust and support for the project. Committing to an independent evaluation also forces researchers and the agency to be clear about what the tool is setting out to achieve from the start, creating an agreed-upon measure of success.

 

Read the full article here.

 

Artificial Intelligence taking China by storm

Artificial intelligence (AI) seems poised to transform healthcare all over the world, especially in China. Developing the systems that power artificial intelligence requires correlating thousands of variables spanning patient medical data and then developing software that can identify related trends among these variables and predict medical outcomes. In China, this poses a challenge: there’s a shortage of easily accessible healthcare data, because online and electronic health record systems are scarce.

Some Chinese entrepreneurs seen opportunity within the market. Jun Wang, founder of the biotech company iCarbonX, is developing an AI-influenced consumer app that will provide customised health and medical advice based on a customer’s DNA, health habits and environment. Wang has established an alliance with healthcare data companies from around the world to provide expertise in mining medical and biological data. By integrating their different platforms, iCarbonX envisions being able to aggregate and analyse patient healthcare information quickly and cheaply.

The voice-tech company iFlytek, will be further developing their technology to comprehend and think about speech in addition to its current capabilities of listening and speaking — features that could be incorporated into mHealth applications or used by healthcare providers who cannot directly communicate with their patients.

Another technology platform, Ningbo Cloud Hospital, is using cloud computing to create a virtual hospital for the Chinese port city of Ningbo. Its services include collecting and analysing data for hospitals, pharmacies and insurance companies, and providing health education and diagnostic services for remote clients.

Ultimately, though, these companies will be competing for global AI market share with large established companies such as Google and Apple. Legal experts note that regulatory bodies will need to evaluate AI technologies to ensure the systems are secure and accurate, and work out the liability issues that may arise when AI systems cause problems or make mistakes.

Read more about China’s use of artificial intelligence here.

How Chile’s IT architecture is transforming its healthcare

Not long ago, more than 1,000 remote medical facilities in Chile lacked connectivity and many of its healthcare systems could not easily interoperate. To change this, Soledad Munoz Lopez, the CIO of Chile’s Ministry of Health (MINSAL), developed a new approach to IT architecture.

Ms. Lopez implemented an API-based architecture. The API architecture dovetails into a variety of MINSAL’s healthcare efforts, including a national program to connect unconnected healthcare centers; a plan to digitize all clinic and administrative processes, both for major hospitals and local clinics and primary care centers; strategies to better leverage data and connectivity for public alerts, population health management programs, and the Public Health Surveillance initiatives required for planning and execution of public health policy; and the use of new secure national identity and biometrics services.

One of the primary areas of concern addressed by the new digital architecture is integration. The API-first approach abstracts any back-end complexity into predictable, consistent interfaces that allow developers to quickly and efficiently connect data, services, and apps across the nationwide system. Resulting in a more seamless experience for doctors and patients and a secure but agile infrastructure for MINSAL. Ms. Lopez explains that all of these connectivity efforts help enable important new services and exciting innovations that benefit Chilean citizens, including telemedicine. The API platform helps professionals in the entire network of healthcare systems in Chile access patient information throughout the care cycle, reducing costs through shared information, eliminated delays, and reduced duplication of medical tests. The platform also provides information to apps and websites used by patients, allowing them to see and gradually empower themselves with their own health data.

MINSAL has introduced hackathons, which are designed to encourage software developers, start-ups, and other institutions to take the capabilities of MINSAL APIs in innovative new directions and combine them with APIs from other government agencies and services providers. The result should be new apps and services that combine healthcare data in novel ways. MINSAL leaders are eager to integrate awareness about wellness and nutritional information into citizens’ daily routines, a goal that third-party apps are better equipped to fulfil than print and other traditional approaches.

Already a leader in Latin American healthcare, Chile is now poised, with its API-based architecture and detailed vision for rapid improvement, to maintain its excellence and provide a model for using technology to improve the lives of millions or people.

Read the full story on how Chile’s IT architecture is transforming its healthcare here.

Helping child welfare agencies benefit from CCWIS rule

Dr Ann Knefel, Child Welfare Specialist at CareDirector, shares her views on how CareDirector can help child welfare agencies in the US comply with the new CCWIS federal rule.

The CCWIS ruling mandates modular, interoperable approaches to implementing case management solutions in child welfare agencies, enabling state agencies to pick the best of the best to meet their casework practice needs, which will hopefully make workers’ lives easier and improve agency performance.

Our modern, flexible solutions can be configured, customized, and tailored to meet state agencies’ needs and help them comply with CCWIS. That makes it much easier and faster for them to adapt their system when they change a policy or practice—and manage their workloads and performance accordingly—than the way they had to do so in the past. CareDirector is a robust, proven solution on a highly configurable platform that really makes people feel empowered. Because the solution can be personalized, it puts the power of information directly into the hands of the people who need it. When information and insights are accessible in real time, people can make decisions with confidence and act quickly to support their agency’s mission. In child welfare, that’s critical because it’s kids’ lives on the line.

Because our solutions are based on Microsoft Dynamics 365, they look and work like the everyday tools people are familiar with so that minimizes training needs and increases acceptance. They also work seamlessly with agencies’ other IT investments.

Read Dr Ann’s full interview with Microsoft here.

A New Era of Health & Human Services

CareDirector recently exhibited at the APHSA HHS Summit in Baltimore, a great event with lots of interesting insights. The Tuesday afternoon General session, “The State and Local Landscape: A New Dynamic was a practical look at health and human services in an era of funding uncertainty. Zach Patton, Executive Editor of Governing was the moderator. The panel was composed of HHS executives at the state, county and local provider level and  took place a couple of days prior to the House passage of the revised AHCA.

The discussion began with an acknowledgement that while HHS funding instability pre-dates the 2016 election, the situation has escalated enormously; “With this Administration, everything is on the table.”

Nick Lyon described how the consolidation of agencies including behavioral health, public health, aging, vocational rehabilitation, SNAP, CPS and cash assistance into the merged Department of HHS is helping Michigan do better serving people. They are currently designing a statewide integrated services portal. He said that they work within the parameters they are given, but would like to become outcome focused rather than “topical” focused.  He later added that the consolidation of HHS in Michigan has allowed them to “marry” the views of behavioral health with physical health. They hope to add dental, and are moving this approach into CPS, with the ultimate goal of mitigating trauma. Nick talked about making rules consistent, and using common sense. He gave the example of an overly complex, incredibly long application form which they were able to reduce significantly. He also again advocated putting prevention first.

Anita Friedman told us that Arlington, Virginia has a dense population in a small space, and that despite a median income of $109k, 25% of the population comes to HHS for services including public health, behavioral health, housing and employment assistance. HHS constantly re-evaluates funds and allocations. Gone are the days of “sacred cow” programs; if money isn’t being spent timely with supporting outcomes, back it goes into the pot for re-allocation. Non-profits are “being slaughtered; “ their funds being re-purposed and re-allocated. It’s not a “cultural shift,” but a reflection of reality. “We are not just service providers. We are community builders. Be a voice for the people who come to you who don’t have a voice. Make politicians understand that services are a crucial investment in the future of the community“.

Denise Cross introduced us to Cornerstones of Care, a behavioral health agency providing services to children from birth to age 25, and their families. Their services include therapeutic foster care, adoption, residential care and pediatric psychiatric hospitals. Cornerstones operates in Kansas and Missouri, with additional services in Nebraska and Illinois.  She supports reform at the federal level, especially increased focus on early intervention and prevention. They are diversifying their funding streams to reduce dependence on single at-risk sources, and building partnerships and strategic alliances with entities such as the University Hospital system. Cornerstones participated in a local tax initiative to support children’s services, as have ten other counties in Kansas. The issue passed. There is some risk of the state “punishing” the locals, but the community feels that they own the issues, and the solutions. Cornerstones invested in a robust EHR. They believe that data sharing is needed, and outcomes which prove they are making a difference, and that funding services isn’t a drain, but an investment in the future of the community. She said “Keep in mind, we all have the same goals, and we are all experts. Can we agree on a core set of values?” and noted that while “flexibility” looks good, who decides?

 

CareDirector recently hosted a webinar on child welfare and data analytics, check it out here

To find out more about our solutions visit us here

 

CareDirector – A Modular Vision for Child Welfare

Child Welfare Agencies are now proceeding with the transformation process for changing their Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information Systems (SACWIS) into the new Comprehensive Child Welfare Information Systems (CCWIS) rule. The Federal Government has prompted modularity to break up solutions into components, promoting a wider choice for state agencies.

Embracing a modular approach for child welfare gives organizations the scalability to meet the needs of growing technology needs. Giving agencies the flexibility to grow new business processes as their CCWIS programs evolve. Modularity gives agencies the scalability to meet the demands of growing technology programs. Agencies now have the flexibility to integrate form and function as programs evolve. Giving agencies the opportunity to meet the challenges and the demands for more patient-centred services.

CareDirector is an off-the-shelf and flexible end-to-end solution built for CCWIS compliance. Built on a familiar Dynamics CRM Microsoft platform which is designed to meet all your modularity needs. This makes it quicker and easier to deploy and use to effectively leverage agency data for decision making and action planning.

CareDirector brings a core set of CCWIS. CareDirector’s interoperability provides a single, seamless state-wide application for data collection, reporting, assessment and case management. It will not only help meet the CCWIS rule but more importantly, it will help support the way your agency operates while achieving better outcomes for children, youth and families.

Previously, the field of child welfare has been slow to adopt new technology and unable to demonstrate improved outcomes. This has led to a growing interest in the use of flexible “commercial off the shelf” (COTS) products to build newer systems and replace outdated legacy systems. CareDirector’s framework allows state agencies to choose their modules or even become a module (mobile, finance, portal etc)  in your local CCWIS framework.

CareDirector has served over 15,000 providers and replaced over 59 regional system. Including connecting 5 state systems with 41% increased utilization in the first six months.

 

 

 

 

Top 3 Healthcare Trends in 2017

Despite the changes afoot in the US healthcare industry the move towards value-based care looks set to continue. Healthcare agencies and providers will therefore need to build and find new programs and approaches as 2017 marches on. This new era of health brings the promise of better value and improved outcomes for patients. Here are some of the 3 key trends CareDirector sees providers having to face in the year ahead.

  1. Patient-Centred Care

The pressure to reduce costs and improve quality is happening regardless of the ACA’s fate. It is estimated that 10 per cent of the world’s population will be over 65 by 2018. This is putting a strain on resources – through pressure to reduce costs and an even greater pressure to show better value. The focus has now moved away from outcomes such as money and infrastructure towards a person-centred approach. This will mean that agencies and providers will need to invest in operational efficiencies that optimise programs, products and services. Therefore a long term return on investment from IT suppliers and contracts is needed.

2. Revenue Cycle Management

The move towards patient-centred care has also created a trend for moving healthcare costs towards the patient. Health care providers and agencies need to strengthen their revenue cycle functions and strategies. To improve patient satistfaction and revenue collection providers and agencies should enhance their billing processes through integration.  By allowing users to bill and document for services rendered users can easily navigate through all areas of patient care through one simple and coordinated system.

3. Technology and Analytics

When you apply for a credit card, banks use predictive analytics to understand how likely you are to repay your debts. This analysis helps banks increase profit through better decision making about how they lend their money. Healthcare agencies and providers are now benefitting more and more from these same types of advances in technology, with a focus on achieving better outcomes for children and families. By using research-validated algorithms agencies now have access to tools that help improve stability and decrease time to permanency. These improved outcomes not only allow agencies to provide better care for their children and families, but they also help reduce the actual financial costs of doing so. 

 

CareDirector is hosting a unique webinar that will present research as well as demonstrate the solutions that enable Child Welfare Agencies to Use Predictive Analytics and Business Intelligence to Improve Placement Stability, Visualize Data and Reduce Costs

 

Register Here

Presenters:

Terry Moore, University of Kansas

Ann Knefel, PhD, CareDirector

Paul Epp, Foster Care Technologies

 

Facilitated by Richard Wells, CareDirector