Alexander Youth Network reached out to Apparo for a refreshed technology assessment to prepare for the next 5 years of anticipated growth for the organization.
Alexander Youth Network (AYN) provides quality professional treatment to children with serious emotional and behavioral problems. They deliver an array of effective and efficient services that enable children and their families to exercise self-determination, achieve their potential, and become positive contributors to society. AYN has experienced massive growth, and anticipates even more within the next 5 years. It is critical for the organization to have a technology plan to help better serve children and their families’ needs.
AYN completed a Technology Plan with Apparo in 2015. The recommendations made in that plan have been completed, so they reached back out for a refreshed technology plan for future years that will allow their organization to prioritize technology needs and continue to move their organization forward. Apparo matched them to a volunteer team from Slalom who assessed the current state of technology at AYN and provided a prioritized 5 year plan and roadmap of recommendations and budget estimates based upon the organization’s needs.
The organization has many programs and youth within those programs. AYN needed a way to more effectively fulfill their mission while also encouraging efficient progression for children in their programs. Because of their goals, their technology assessment addressed areas including but not limited to: technology infrastructure, support and maintenance, business applications, skilled staff, training, data backups, security, website, reporting and technology policies. As a result of this project, AYN feels confident in their ability to fulfill their mission more effectively through the use of technology.
Carolyn Spence, CIO of AYN explained the value of this project. “This project with the Slalom team has been a valuable experience. Their energy and commitment to mapping out a path to improving Alexander Youth Network’s technology and infrastructure for future growth and opportunities has been exceptional. I am excited to take this plan, move forward and leverage the efficiencies that technology can offer to improve the care of our youth and their families.”
Upon implementation of technology recommendations, Alexander Youth Network will have improved data allowing staff to save 1200+ hours annually. The staff of AYN will have the capability to better fulfill AYN’s mission by utilizing this time to support more programs and services for youth.
Currently only 33% of the many of referrals AYN sees monthly result in service delivery. With increased data from the new technology plan, staff are better equipped to work more efficiently with referrals as well as increase the number of referrals who receive services. This is accomplished because now staff can see the full picture of each referral, rather than just getting bits and pieces. This type of data will help the staff see which referrals are at higher risk and need to be targeted more quickly and they will have the ability to target the right kids at the right time to mitigate bottlenecks within the system. The time saved will allow children and families to receive services faster and in a deeper, more comprehensive way.
As the healthcare industry shifts, the organization will be better positioned to stay on top in a large market while having improved negotiation power through demonstrated outcomes.
AYN anticipates seeing the biggest impact in 2022 considering changes in North Carolina regarding Managed Care Organizations (MCOs). Under managed care, the state contracts with insurance companies and a predetermined rate is agreed upon for services. With their new technology plan in place, AYN is better positioned to compete with larger organizations and insurance companies by having measurable data and evidence to support the success in their services. This will allow for improved negotiation power with MCOs and the possibility to serve more children through these contracts. The organization anticipates an influx of growth through these statewide initiatives, and this technology plan will help set them up for success in advance of these occurrences.
With 3 new services set to launch in 2021, this technology assessment will allow the organization to improve ability predict outcomes and broaden services offered to youth.
As an organization, AYN’s focus is transitioning to helping families and other constituents better serve and understand the youth within their programs. The 360° view of the youth is an invaluable tool for all involved in the services because it allows for something tangible and measurable to be shared which demonstrates progress. In this transition, the organization is also focusing on moving youth to lower levels of care. This is made possible through data by being able to see patterns and communicating those patterns to tell families what triggers there may be so everyone can work together to intervene and make children more successful throughout these programs.
The project was a great experience for all involved.
At our wrap up meeting, all expressed how great this experience was. Cynthia Schmidt, one of our volunteers from Slalom, explained, “We were inspired by the passion Alexander Youth Network has for helping the youths in their programs. Their focus to do the right thing has helped them get where they are today. Through this passion and focus, we found ourselves focused and passionate to help provide them the tools and knowledge to support their continued technology modernization.” Craig Bass, CEO of Alexander Youth Network, also expressed his gratitude.
In 2020, a team of volunteers from Slalom delivered a technology plan and roadmap with Alexander Youth Network and Apparo. Since completing the project, Alexander has made changes allowing them to use their data to improve their processes and ensure they are delivering care effectively and efficiently.
One year after the completion of their Community Impact Project with Slalom’s skilled volunteers, we checked back in with Alexander leadership to learn about the impact of the work. Since the finalization of the technology plan, Alexander began shifting to a cloud-based environment and has put a greater focus on predictive data analytics to ensure they are providing the most effective and efficient care possible. The organization has implemented significant improvements in several processes. Because of these process changes, Alexander is seeing a 50% improvement in the completion of their comprehensive clinical assessment which means that clients will often receive the valuable care they need 2 to 3 days sooner.
Alexander has plans to continue their deep dive into their client data and has hired a new data analyst to help with this endeavor. Bringing on this new staff member will allow the organization to heighten its focus on machine learning and become more prescriptive with the course of treatment recommended for each client. It will also allow Alexander to have the right data to demonstrate the effectiveness of their services to other partners, potentially bringing in additional contracts.
Alexander Youth Network Chief Information Officer, Carolyn Spence, shared, “This project really helped us focus on what we needed to do to align technology with the initiatives of the population that we serve and allowed us to use the data we have to better meet the needs of the clients we serve.”