Our Data Team
To guide equitable investment decisions and continuously improve services, DCHS’ Performance Measurement and Evaluation (PME) unit collaborates with internal and external partners to use data to understand the implementation and impact of the programs administered by the department. DCHS has advanced its data collection, management, analysis, and reporting capabilities while nurturing close partnerships to develop meaningful performance measures, increase transparency, and drive program quality and impact.
Specifically, PME focuses on
- Creating a learning culture focused on continual improvement and shared accountability within our own organization and with our contracted service providers and other partners
- Performing innovative and timely analyses about the services we support to deeply understand individual and community impact and possible inequities
- Sharing data in clear, accessible, and actionable ways
- Aligning information across programs and using quantitative and qualitative data to tell a more complete story
- Collecting, analyzing, displaying, and interpreting data in a culturally-appropriate, equity-focused manner
- Developing and using modern, flexible, and secure tools and technology
Results Based Accountability and DCHS’ Responsibility
In 2015, DCHS adopted the Results Based Accountability (RBA) planning and performance measurement framework. RBA is a national model and a disciplined way of thinking and acting to improve entrenched and complex social problems. It acknowledges a single entity can rarely cause unilateral community-level change in, or resolution of, the types of societal, generational, and intergenerational challenges DCHS’ programming strives to undo or mitigate. Rather, agencies like DCHS must come together with community members, service providers, and other jurisdictional bodies to envision a better King County and develop multi-pronged strategies to achieve equitable and durable change.
RBA makes a distinction between population accountability, monitored through population indicators that assess the well-being of a whole population and performance accountability, monitored through performance measures that assess the well-being of direct service participants. Many partners, including DCHS, should be collectively held accountable to regional population-level goals and indicators. DCHS holds themselves and their contracted providers accountable for program performance. Measures of this performance typically answer the questions:
- How much was done?
- How well was it done?
- What difference was made?
There are many sources of population indicators. DCHS’ PME unit facilitates the performance measurement of services directly provided by DCHS, as well as activities and programs delivered by their contracted providers. PME also designs and implements rigorous evaluations of high-priority and/or innovative programs and provides sophisticated business intelligence support for the Department’s divisions.
Performance Measurement Planning
The primary purpose of performance measurement is to use real-time data to inform ongoing work, understand which strategies are effective and why, and support shared responsibility for success between DCHS and our contracted providers. Most DCHS-funded activities or programs have a formal Performance Measurement (PM) Plan that clearly spells out what the provider is expected to do and the outcomes they are trying to achieve. PM Plans are created and finalized in partnership with program managers, providers, and evaluators. They also document details about expected data reporting and continuous quality improvement activities.