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Use of Predictive Analytics Reflects Strategic Commitment to Quality

One example of how Alliance member Eckerd, Clearwater Fla., connects its high-level values to operations is its work in predictive analytics. Its value of strategy and aspirations of impact led it to data analysis.

Identifying Opportunity

Eckerd’s efforts to use data to improve service delivery and outcomes for children began with its quality strategic building block and translate directly to its organization-wide perpetual performance improvement (PPI) process.

“Within the PPI process and throughout its use, we continuously look for opportunities to utilize the data in the most proactive, predictive manner as possible,” says Eckerd COO Ron Zychowski.

The organization’s orientation toward the advanced use of data led it to see tremendous opportunity in Florida’s statewide child welfare database, Florida Safe Families Network.

“We have access to an extremely robust federally-approved child welfare data system, where every data element that is captured resides,” says Ron Zychowski. “Eckerd wanted to determine how we could use this rich data source in a way that would improve child safety.”

Creating the Model

From there, it worked with its partner Mindshare Technology to make its vision possible. Mindshare Technology is a company based in Tampa, Fla., that specializes in data analysis for social service organizations. Its data system, which processes data from disparate sources, provides quality enforcement through constant analysis, produces awareness with proactive communications, and maximizes accountability through escalation and alerting.

“Mindshare Technology has always had the capability to mine information and it has always believed there’s critical intelligence in the data,” says Mindshare Technology CEO Greg Povolny. “I believe our solutions help to maintain social equity—our services are designed to get children in need what they need, when they need it.”

Eckerd and Mindshare Technology began using front-end data queries to pull and link data together for real-time management reports, which are used to drive performance. As one example, they analyzed the data on cases that had produced poor safety outcomes for children and determined a set of 15 data points, such as the age of the child, placement, and family situation, that were determined to be highly correlated with the poor safety outcomes.

From there, Eckerd began electronically scanning all of its cases and flagging those that are high risk. This identification process allows the organization to wisely allocate resources and provide real-time feedback to all parties within the child welfare system that are responsible for those children.

“Instead of randomly pulling cases to look at, we’re pulling the cases we need to look at,” says Zychowski.

Critical to this process is Mindshare Technology’s capacity to pull data from disparate databases. In the example with Eckerd’s, they were able to integrate information related to critical indicators collected by the local school boards that would have otherwise been disconnected.

“Mindshare Technology’s ability puts another layer on top of Florida Safe Families Network and that’s where Eckerd really saw the power of what we do,” says Povolny. “We started to apply our model to their 6,000 kids and, low and behold, we started to detect high risk and they were able to add in increased oversight and really impact those cases.”

Impacting the State

The state of Florida and multiple lead agencies have been using predictive analytics for several years and have been very effective in using data to improve outcomes.

In addition to Eckerd, Mindshare Technology works with several other Alliance members that serve as lead agencies in Florida:

  • Brevard Family Partnership, Melbourne
  • Our Kids, Miami
  • Kids Central, Ocala

Eckerd says it looks to continue to develop this approach and use it to understand which factors highly correlate with timely permanency, child well-being, and success in education.

“Armed with this information, we can apply targeted interventions to either enhance positive factors or mitigate for negative factors,” says Zychowski.

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