Data in Action
DCHS is committed to making data accessible and useful
Over the past several years, DCHS has invested heavily in data systems and infrastructure to responsibly collect, manage, and share information. While reporting requirements (from Metropolitan King County Council, funders, etc.) drove most of these initial investments, DCHS’s goal is to make data widely accessible and used to animate conversations, spark innovation, and direct programming and policy decisions to the benefit of King County residents.
The Performance Measurement and Evaluation (PME) unit often collaborates with program partners to:
- Create public-facing dashboards that answer common questions about DCHS-funded services
- Promote data literacy and increase comfort through trainings for DCHS and provider staff
- Develop and maintain King County’s Client Outcomes Reporting Engine (CORE), that allows providers to securely submit client-level program data and visualize their performance relative to program-specific metrics also reviewed by their DCHS program manager
- Explore data with the community via DataWalks as a platform for interpretation and collaboration
Human Services Workforce and Organizations are Key to DCHS Achieving Positive Impacts
Facilitating high-quality services is the main mechanism by which DCHS impacts the King County community. Collecting high-quality data, reviewing program performance, and developing and monitoring quality improvement initiatives are examples of how DCHS collaboratively creates and uses data with service participants, contracted providers and our own direct services staff.
DCHS is dedicated to sharing information with its provider partners and working with them to find and use their own insights. Below are three stories that highlight how DCHS has worked to share back information, explore opportunities, and identify next steps in collaboration with funded providers.
Click on one of the three stories below to learn more about how DCHS has worked to share back information, explore opportunities, and identify next steps in collaboration with funded providers.
In Fall of 2021, the King County evaluation and Early Childhood Supports for Infants and Toddlers (ESIT) program teams developed and conducted a survey to understand career satisfaction, aspirations, and potential career pathways of ESIT providers across King County. Best Starts for Kids funded ESIT programs provide specialized services and supports for families with children birth to age 3 who have a developmental delay or disability, ensuring caregivers are supported and children reach their early learning and development goals.
The main purposes of the survey were to gather baseline information on workforce and employment experiences, to prioritize development needs, and to identify ways to grow and diversify the ESIT workforce. Employees at all 13 contracted ESIT agencies were invited to participate and a total of 365 (77%) responded. King County staff then analyzed the survey results and shared them back with agencies to support continuous quality improvement conversations focused on building and supporting an equitable early childhood support workforce.
Actions resulted in:
- Increased agency buy-in to explore their own data
- Motivation to implement agency-wide changes and improvements that benefit their providers, including increased pay for providers who speak multiple languages; increased funding for translation supports; and support for mentorship programs for providers, particularly for providers that identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)
- The ESIT program plans explore investments that would expand career pathways for ESIT providers and enable agencies to recruit and hire more diverse staff, including BIPOC, multilingual and people with disabilities.
- Future conversations to identify how the King County program team can support agencies to work toward equitable salaries across ESIT program roles and agencies.
Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is a MIDD Behavioral Health Sales Tax- funded program implemented through three local hospitals to provide services that engage people in reducing harm from substance use, considering options for alcohol and drug treatment, and connecting people to other needed services such as mental health treatment. SBIRT providers, alongside King County program and evaluation staff, came together to create a learning collaborative which meets quarterly to discuss ongoing improvements to SBIRT implementation. In May 2021, the collaborative began work to understand how to better serve people participating in SBIRT services.
Actions resulted in:
- Increased collaboration and use of data to identify opportunities.
- Increased understanding of the makeup of people participating in SBIRT services and provider makeup.
- Discussions of how the hospital populations relate to the program, the referral pipeline, and the best ways to engage underrepresented populations.
- Identification of the need for training in best practices when using interpretation services to better serve underrepresented populations.
- King County program staff secured funding for a learning collaborative focused on building effective skills and strategies when delivering services through an interpreter.
- In March 2022, King County began a partnership with National Latino Behavioral Health Association to provide virtual trainings to SBIRT providers on how to best work with interpreters.
- Following the trainings, the collaborative will follow up with two consultative sessions focused on recognizing opportunities and adopting best practices in delivering SBIRT services through interpreters. This work may act as pilot for wider implementation across MIDD programs.
Starting in 2020, the Veterans, Seniors and Human Services (VSHSL) Resilient Communities program and evaluation teams began partnering to learn more about the impact of flexible financial dollars on domestic violence mobile advocacy survivor’s self-determination goals and stability. In 2021, the evaluation team created an internal interactive dashboard to show the number, types, and dollar amounts of flexible dollars, as well as performance measures comparing those who received flexible financial assistance and those who did not. King County evaluation staff then shared this dashboard with providers and the program team to support continuous improvement conversations about program services and data quality.
Actions resulted in:
- Increased agency understanding of how their data quality impacts larger advocacy and policy reporting.
- Submission of incomplete performance measure data went from 53% in 2020, to only 9% in 2021.
- Ability to support the network of King County gender-based violence provider’s advocacy around the importance of flexible financial assistance and its impacts on programming
- Better understanding of where financial support is utilized most for survivors and their families
- Disseminate findings to the wider network of King County gender-based violence providers and discuss what other analysis or data would be useful.
- Work with VSHSL Mobile Advocacy programs to incorporate wider King County gender-based violence feedback on incorporating further data collection for next iteration of analysis.