Data Optimization

Better Outcomes for All: Resources for Optimizing Data

By Christina Becker    February 2020


Across the country, health and human services (H/HS) agencies are thinking about how to optimize their use of data through initial use case planning to implement decision support tools, hiring a Chief Data Officer, and more. APHSA monitors these efforts and lifts up innovative practices that lead to better outcomes for children and families.

Over the course of 2019, APHSA co-created a series of papers, webinars, and use cases to highlight analytics in H/HS. This work was created in close partnership with—and would not have been possible without—many of our member states and counties, sister associations, and strategic industry partners.

Below is a list of these resources – please dive into them and share them with others!

  • Data Governance: A Critical Component for Strong Analytics to Address Population Health, is a paper which strives to assist H/HS agencies to define the value proposition for an increased focus on population health analytics, paying specific attention to the need for strong data governance to realize robust population health analytics. The paper defines population health, explains some data governance strategies, highlights state & county work in this space, and finishes with actionable next steps (a “call to action”) for H/HS agencies.
  • Why Data Dictionaries Matter is a brief 2-pager for executives, designed to explain the importance of investing in data dictionaries in non-technical terms. This document may also be a helpful read for IT staff, to find the language to explain data dictionaries to business staff.
  • The Washington State Integrated Client Databases use case is a detailed look at the extensive integrated analytic environment that the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, in partnership with several state agency and internal program partners, has developed.
  • Finally, APHSA hosted a 2-part webinar series on prediction, learning, and prevention in child welfare. During the first webinar, speakers from Youth Villages and the National Council on Crime and Delinquency presented strategies and issues for H/HS agencies considering using decision support tools. During the second webinar, Erin Dalton, from Allegheny County's Office of Analytics, Technology and Planning, explained how Allegheny County thought through some of the considerations raised in the first webinar, and explained their evaluation and planning processes to create its CPS program.

All these documents – and some supporting materials – can be found on APHSA’s Data Sharing & Analytics page.

About the Author

Christina Becker (Full Bio)

Manager, Knowledge Mobilization
American Public Human Services Association (APHSA)


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