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  • Ginger Bandeen, LCSW

Why Would a Social Worker Start a Data Company?

As the Quality Improvement Manager and Compliance Officer at a small nonprofit community behavioral health agency, I often reviewed charts after critical events. A bad outcome or a complaint would often be the trigger. In hindsight, it was easy to see the events that could have been handled differently, the ways that people slipped through the cracks, or to imagine how things might have gone better if we had been more proactive. This wasn't always true, but it was common enough that it bothered me.

I taught myself how to write queries and develop reports out of our Electronic Health Record system because I believed that we could use data analysis to track trends and identify risks before something went wrong, that we could use the data being entered by clinicians to develop tools they could use to provide better services.

Data projects that focused on productivity, state reporting requirements, or compliance were the first priority for our agency, because we needed that data to survive. However, with limited resources, I started to see that there was always another required state report, or another form that needed to be tracked for compliance, and never enough time to look at clinical trends, or search out people who were falling through the cracks. Never enough time to put together data that would be helpful to clinical decision-making or identify gaps in care - data that could be interesting, inspiring, and actionable for clinicians and managers.

As an independent contractor for the past year, I've had the opportunity to work with agencies across the country, and I see that pattern over and over. People are so busy keeping up with required data reports that they don't have the time, energy, or resources to take their data analysis to the next level.

Metrics can be a good thing, but very few agencies have time to fully utilize the richness of that data. Agencies of every size are tracking PHQ-9 scores, and having clinicians repeat them once every 3 months to check for remission, but most don't have time to track people with the highest scores or to identify people who never came back for services after an initial screening. This type of scenario plays out over and over again, and clinicians (one of our most precious and limited resources) get burned out, never seeing the benefits of the data they so dutifully enter.

I founded Mission Driven Data to offer agencies just like yours an opportunity to do things differently. I want to connect agencies with data that supports your mission, inspires your workforce, and drives the behavioral health system toward better outcomes. I want to help your agency identify outcomes that matter - outcomes that benefit your community, not just the demands of various payers or regulators. I want to change the way you think about your data - to shift it from being a necessary burden to a limitless source of meaningful information.

Starting with the Credible EHR system, Mission Driven Data is going to get you access to your agency's data. We're going to help you understand and use that data. And we're going to build a community of like-minded people (social workers, data people, and everyone in between) who can support each other as we transform our system using this untapped resource.

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