Decision Support Data System

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Decision Support Data Systems are sources of information used to help make good decisions internal to an organization.  Effective organizations make use of a variety of measures to:

  • assess key aspects of the overall performance of the organization,
  • provide data to support decision making, and
  • assure continuing implementation of the evidence-based intervention and benefits to consumers over time. 

All modern organizations have a financial data collection and reporting system that regularly is monitored internally and externally (e.g. through employment of professional financial managers and clerks in the organization, careful attention from the governing board, and annual audits by external experts).  Effective organizations also have data collection and reporting systems for their treatment and management processes and outcomes.  Decision support data systems are an important part of continuous quality improvement for interventions, implementation supports, and organization functioning (e.g. used as the “study” part of the never-ending plan-do-study-act cycle).  Implementation Teams help organizations establish and evolve their data systems so information is immediately accessible and useful to practitioners, trainers, coaches, and managers for short-term and long-term planning and improvement at clinical and organizational levels.

Human service organizations and systems are dynamic, so there is ebb and flow to the relative contribution of each component to the overall outcomes (e.g. Panzano, Seffrin, Chaney-Jones, Roth, Crane-Ross, Massatti, et al., 2004).  The decision support data system feedback loops appear to be critical to keeping an evidence-based program “on track” in the midst of a sea of change.  If the feedback loops (staff performance evaluations and decision support data systems) indicate needed changes, then the organization adjusts the integrated system to improve effectiveness and efficiency.