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The following narrative includes edited responses to questions discussed during the presentation. Contributing panelists can be found at the bottom of this article. During the presentation, each panelist shared their unique experience with helming the process of software implementation.
Why are partnerships important during implementation of Home Visiting software?
When implementing software, it is essential to involve multiple parties working together toward a common goal. Working collaboratively helps ensure that home visiting supervisors have confidence in the software, and that they encourage their teams to use it consistently.
For example, when Advanced Metrics implemented Maxwell Home Visiting Software* stakeholders included the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), Advanced Metrics, and individual home visiting agencies. To make the implementation of Maxwell in Maryland successful, each partner brought a level of unique knowledge to the implementation, including expertise surrounding implementation science, accreditation standards, and home visiting.
Implementing this kind of change takes time, support, and communication. Partnerships make implementation happen smoothly.
Why is it important to get feedback from home visiting sites when making changes or enhancements to software?
Getting feedback from actual users of the software advances improvements to the system. Maintaining open lines of communication for feedback also increases user adoption because home visitors know their needs are being heard and addressed.
How do you stay connected to home visiting agencies to ensure they are using software effectively?
There are several ways to stay connected with home visitors. One strategy, implemented by Advanced Metrics and MDH, is hosting bi-weekly “learning collaborative” meetings. These meetings create a chance for home visitors to ask questions, provide feedback, and request further training. In the last year, these meetings have been especially important because COVID-19 introduced many challenges into the day-to-day work of home visitors.
Additional ways to remain connected include: periodic training sessions for new users, refresher training sessions for current users, and ad hoc assistance with reporting and model accreditation.
How can data analytics be used to promote advocacy and to secure funding?
Data is a foundational element in the ability to provide high quality services. Home visiting agencies are required to show funders and model accreditors the impact of their work. This impact is shown by way of performance metrics. Also, data provides the basis for making programmatic decisions and informs continuous quality improvement (CQI) goals.
Unfortunately, getting the right data in a timely manner is not always easy, especially when multiple data systems are used to collect data, or data systems are not configured to provide the type of information that funders request. The challenge of getting the right data is exacerbated when multiple funders or oversight agencies request different types of data. Having one software platform that contains the right data, in an accessible format, is a great benefit to staff and supervisors at home visiting agencies.
What was the most significant barrier that needed to be overcome during implementation?
The most significant barrier was an apprehension towards change, which is a natural reaction when new systems are introduced. New software means new technology and new ways of doing things. The key is to keep all invested parties engaged and informed during and after the implementation to ensure success. Once everyone knows they will be trained and fully supported, there is an increased comfortability with the process. Additionally, when home visitors know that programs, like Maxwell, can help make their jobs easier, adoption of the system is a snap.
* QUALO Home Visiting is Advanced Metrics branded version of Maxwell Home Visiting Software.
Bianca Gwynn: Program Consultant with the Ohio Department of Health, Bureau of Maternal, Child and Family Health. Bianca supports home visiting providers in evidence-based model and state requirements. Bianca is also the primary programmatic contact on Ohio’s data team where she assists in the development and implementation of the software.
James M. Roberts: Data Administration Manager with the Ohio Department of Health, Bureau of Maternal, Child, and Family Health. James plays a large role ensuring that the Ohio Home Visiting Software System meets the needs of the teams using it.
Jarvis Askew: Data and Fiscal Program Administrator with the Maryland Department of Health. Jarvis has been the state lead for the development of home visiting software (Maxwell Home Visiting Software), since shortly after the project work began.
Nate Lubold: Director of Implementation at Advanced Metrics. Nate has been providing technical support to MDH and Maryland’s home visiting sites throughout the implementation of their home visiting software solution, Maxwell, developed by Advanced Metrics.
Advanced Metrics is a Certified B-Corporation dedicated to improving lives by uniting community-based services with science-informed approaches. Advanced Metrics offers Home Visiting software that is informed by experts and built for home visitors.