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How did the 2016 election predictions go so wrong? – A data science view.

News, Tech Solutions

2016-11-18-11_06_53-2016-election-forecast-_-fivethirtyeight Five Thirty Eight, a website that was created by Nate Silver after he gained popularity by accurately forecasting several elections, had this image on their website before the election. Using incredible data science that worked well in the past, they got it wrong. As a person who makes data products (predictive models, performance dashboards and reports) to inform decision makers about complex problems, I wondered why. Well, here is what I’ve found:

People are much more dynamic than products.

As we have learned to make data products for health and human services, we don’t create a computer system to make a decision for the customer because a computer would be making decisions about people’s lives. A person in authority needs quality data to make a decision, but it’s up to the person making the decision, informed by quality data to decide. The reason is that people change faster and in ways, we can’t predict. As the writer Harry Enten for Five Thirty Eight writes about what the election taught him,

“Political parties, in other words, are dynamic — their coalitions change.”

The models you run, which are made by people, determine the result you receive.

Beginning in 2000 and lasting until 2010, forecasts of weather had a lot of variance in its accuracy as the impact of climate change started to ruin their models. The climate changed, but the models for forecasting the weather hadn’t. The forecaster would predict rain five days in the future, and you would get sun instead. It’s called Model Bias, and it slowly impacted the accuracy of national weather data starting in 2000 and until they changed their models starting in 2009. The electoral climate changed, but the models and the data driving those models didn’t.

Your model is only as good as the data you receive.

As the Five Thirty Eight folks learned, the data they received going back to 1980 only had nine (9) election cycles. That creates uncertainty into the model. Again from the great article by Harry Enten,

“Small sample sizes can also be super misleading. That’s exactly what made my predictions (and others’) in the primaries so bad. The idea that a candidate like Trump, who had so little support from the party establishment (as measured by endorsements), couldn’t win a primary in the modern era was based off of data dating back only to 1980.”

Also, if you are only getting data from certain people, in this case, your typical voter, you will miss new populations. For the 2016 election, new voters who historically didn’t participate in the process came out and voted. So the data you receive determines how well your model will work. To put it another way, garbage in, garbage out.

Medicaid Managed Care – What Is It; How to Prepare

If you provide behavioral or physical health services for Medicaid consumers, you have probably heard about the changes to both systems. You may have even heard that you need to prepare for Medicaid Managed Care. What is managed care?

Managed Care is a term that is used to describe a health insurance plan or health care system that coordinates the provision, quality and cost of care for its enrolled members. – NY State Department of Health

What isn’t discussed is how to prepare your organization and staff for this change. What steps need to be taken? Do you have the infrastructure and right people in place to take those steps? How do you measure your achievements and outcomes? Are those the achievements and outcomes Medicaid Managed Care will find valuable?  CCNY, Inc. is here to help with an infographic describing the steps, and expectations to prepare your organization for Managed Care.

ccny_managedCare

[PDF Version]

CCNY works with health and human service organizations to provide data-driven recommendations that will improve the organization. If you are interested in getting support in this process, contact us for more information.  We would be happy to help.

 

 

CCNY Collaborates with Catholic Charities of Broome County on Data Integration Project

News, Tech Solutions

CCNY is excited to work with Catholic Charities of Broome County to integrate data for their Adult Health Homes. The project, which will create an integrated data set from their network of providers, will last for 15 weeks. We are excited to take on this challenge with them to improve the quality of their information and reporting.

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To Prepare for Managed Care, You Will Need to Combine Data on Fiscal and Clinical Performance

Jamie Stewart of Open Minds, a market and management best-practice firm supporting health and human service organizations, wrote an excellent article on the challenges for the Behavioral Health system, “Are You Ready To Be A Certified Community Behavioral Health Center?” He says,

The CFO’s biggest challenge now is finding a way to combine fiscal data systems with clinical performance management to produce the management data needed to hit payer-mandated performance requirements and manage value-based contracts.

In order to gather, analyze, and display this data, you may need to integrate data sets that are not connected to each other. For example, you accounting and fiscal management software may not be integrated with your Electronic Health Record in a way that helps you understand the cost of services. You will need not only know how well your clients are performing on clinical outcomes, but also how much those outcomes cost your agency to provide. 

Open Minds have several articles on this issue that may help:

If you need assistance in gathering, integrating, and developing dashboards to support this work, let us know. We would love to speak to you.

Data Consumers: Where On the Spectrum Should Your Product Be

The most challenging step in creating a data product is knowing what is needed. Defining the characteristics, the complexity, and the audience is a very important step. Sometimes customers don’t know the horizon of options available to them. While reading “Data Fluency” by Zach and Chris Gemignai, I found an excellent spectrum of dimensions that can help a data consumer understand the complexity of their needs.

characteristics of data products

From “Data Fluency” pg. 50

I geeked out about this. I want to make a slider where the user could move it back and forth on these dimensions and get examples of what they would get. I’m putting that on my Someday/Maybe list.

If you’re struggling to define what data you need, or how you need to view it, contact us. We love this stuff.

Steps for Preparing for Managed Care [Infographic]

If you provide behavioral or physical health services for Medicaid consumers, you have probably heard about the changes to both systems. You may have even heard that you need to prepare for Medicaid Managed Care. What is managed care?

Managed Care is a term that is used to describe a health insurance plan or health care system that coordinates the provision, quality and cost of care for its enrolled members. – NY State Department of Health

What isn’t discussed is how to prepare your organization and staff for this change. What steps need to be taken? Do you have the infrastructure and right people in place to take those steps? How do you measure your achievements and outcomes? Are those the achievements and outcomes Medicaid Managed Care will find valuable?  CCNY, Inc. is here to help with an infographic describing the steps, and expectations to prepare your organization for Managed Care.

ccny_managedCare

[PDF Version]

If you are interested in getting support in this process, contact us for more information.  We would be happy to help.

 

 

Change is Not A Piece of Cake: Motivational Interviewing and Stages of Change

By: Gail

When I’m talking to my kids about improving either their health or behavior, they resist. Of course, they know that avoiding a ton of calories is good for you, but they want the huge slice of cake anyway. Who can blame them? Cake tastes amazing.

While working with Dr. Jonathan Fader to develop an online Motivational Interviewing Training, I learned that this ambivalence can be resolved, and individuals can move from one stage of change to another with assistance. By following this non-judgmental, non-confrontational approach, individuals can be effective in helping others with various forms of behavior change. Dr. Fader explains Motivational Interviewing really well on his website:

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a technique that was developed by psychologists Bill Miller and Steve Rollnick. One recent definition of MI calls it a collaborative, person-centered form of guiding to elicit and strengthen motivation for change. In the MI approach, clients are assumed to be in a state of ambivalence that can best be resolved by highlighting discrepancies between perceived risk and actual experience of negative consequences. The clinician identifies the difference in where clients are and where they would like to be. Through careful listening and the reflecting of “change talk,” the clinician provides the client the opportunity to explore a path toward change.

If you are interested in learning more, check out the description of the online course. You can sign up easily, and quickly from there. If you do take the course, I hope you enjoy it as much as Jonathan and I did making it.

New York State Managed Care: Are You Ready? Get Your Assessment Here

While reviewing the NYS Medicaid Managed Care Kick Off Videos (Part 1 and Part 2), there was an interesting tool referenced on slide 78. The Managed Care Technical Assistance Center (MCTAC) has created an online readiness tool for managed care. Although, the date to participate in their data collection and dissemination has passed, it is a very useful tool for assessing your organization’s readiness, and identifying areas of strength and improvement. It is a five-page tool you will want to use with your leadership team and staff. Here’s an example, does your organization have an individual responsible for managing the Quality Assurance/ Quality Study expectations of MCOs? I hope you find it valuable in preparing for the future.

If you find you need assistance in improving your processes or procedures, let us know and we would be happy to help.

CCNY welcomes new technology systems developer

CCNY welcomes Brian Borncamp to the team as a Technology Systems Developer.

Brian comes to CCNY from various sectors in the Technology Industry. In his previous roles, Brian has worked to solve problems  and develop solutions for software and infrastructure needs. Brian has developed and monitored solutions policies, protocols, and procedures to solve the needs for corporate, research, medical, and community clients. All of the above tasks encompassed skill sets that were identified as crucial to the CCNY mission.

Chief among Brian’s new duties will be to collaborate with evaluators on data extraction, loading, and transformation. Brian will also be working with outside agencies to develop software and infrastructure to facilitate reporting and analytics. Brian looks forward to solving problems and improving upon existing data pipelines.

 

CCNY is hiring a technology systems developer

CCNY, located in Buffalo, NY, is looking to hire a part time(20 hrs/week) Technology Systems Developer. CCNY helps people measure what they do, and improve it, which often leads to developing databases to support their measurement needs. In addition, we have several solutions that require data integration, and algorithm design in order to support managers in their improvement plans. We need a developer who will learn how to codify our solutions, maintain their effectiveness, and either work with support or support them directly to keep them running at their optimum levels. If you’re interested in database development for a cause, then you may be interested in this.

Job Duties include the following:

  • Develop with CCNY team efficient, functional databases for nonprofit audiences
  • Deliver databases either in a web-based format or as an offline application using Microsoft Access or similar system
  • Maintain web-based content to ensure security and integrity
  • Develop scripts and reports to address business issues
  • Write queries to identify recurring issues as needed
  • Develop reports to meet business requirements
  • Provide production support as needed and work to solve new and existing technical issues
  • Develop with CCNY team efficient, functional databases for nonprofit audiences
  • Maintain web-based content to ensure security and integrity
  • Work closely with the Directors of IT, and Research and Evaluation to codify solutions found in our work, become experts with those solutions, and maintain them for staff

The following qualifications are required:

  • Bachelors degree or higher in relevant field
  • Two years relevant experience (Will consider recent college graduates)
  • Intermediate knowledge of MySQL or SQL, XML, views procedures, triggers, relationships
  • Develop and maintenance of databases to ensure data integrity and security
  • Willing to learn SOQL and Salesforce to develop reporting, data exports, and data integration

CCNY is an equal opportunity employer. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable persons with disabilities to perform essential functions. We offer excellent benefits & PTO.

Please submit a resume to hr@comconnectionsny.org. We look forward to reviewing your resume.

Full Job Description