Written by Cheryl A. Camillo (pictured below), author of Hubert Project E-Case “Learning to Use Data in a Public Human Services Agency”.
“We don’t,” said the branch chief with the courage to utter the unexpected when I asked the managers of my nascent state office how they used data to do their jobs. As I learned, the employees of Maryland’s Office of Eligibility Services (OES), like many in public service, performed their duties without up-to-date tools and training.
Less than one year later that same manager regularly developed and populated data tables tracking the success of our Medical Assistance to Families expansion. One unsolicited case processing report she delivered bore a smiley face and note reading “I attached 2008 [data] for comparison.” showing her acquired understanding of the importance of evaluating performance against select reference points.
This E-Case tells the story of how the anxious, demoralized, under-resourced staff of mostly frontline workers with no prior data analytics experience and its new executive director began to utilize data to implement strategic initiatives and facilitate day-to-day outreach, eligibility, and enrollment functions.
It is meant for busy public managers who want to instill a data culture within their offices but have limited time and funds to attend classes or participate in lengthy webinars. Its material can be digested in a single hour-long session, or in multiple shorter sessions as time permits, perhaps between meetings on a packed calendar.
Module 1 details our seemingly impossible task—designing and implementing an expansion of Medicaid to tens of thousands of low-income parents and childless adults in just six months while maintaining regular operations. Module 2 describes the challenges we had to overcome in doing so. Lastly, Module 3 presents the seven lessons we learned along the way:
While the video in Module 2 employs actors in place of actual OES employees, who, consistent with their ethic of service to the public rather than to themselves, chose to remain anonymous, public managers who view this case will recognize a familiar setting.