Uniting Data to Deliver Better Services

To deliver more cohesive services, the Louisiana Department of Health (DoH) leveraged master data management (MDM) and other technologies to unite people, processes, systems, and agencies. Richard (Dickie) Howze, chief information officer for the State's Office of Technology Services (OTS), has extensive experience with MDM. He prefers the phrase "single view of the citizen," since it delivers a 360-degree look of those benefitting from state services.

"The end-user experience has to be simplified and standardized so citizens can access state services efficiently," Howze explains. "Single-view projects are particularly valuable for agencies that provide many types of social service programs, each with unique needs, eligibility requirements, and funding sources."

The DoH maintains numerous applications, each with separate business rules and data. This system fragmentation drives up costs by reducing productivity and increasing maintenance efforts, and makes data sharing and reporting complex.

Information Builders’ technologies bring order to this diverse information landscape by supporting two key projects: a Common Access Front End (CAFÉ) for the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), and Medicaid Modernization for the DoH, part of an enterprise architecture (EA) initiative that includes technology, infrastructure, and governance. Instead of "ripping and replacing" siloed systems, Information Builders' solutions combine integration, data quality, and MDM functionality to preserve legacy investments and leverage existing information assets.

Creating a Single View of Citizens

CAFÉ includes a middleware architecture linking data from the Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP), Kinship Care Subsidy Program (KCSP), Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (DSNAP), Child Welfare program, and others. Information Builders provided a cleansed Master Client Index and Provider Index for creating, storing, maintaining, and interfacing records to these systems.

CAFÉ creates a single master record for each citizen, enforcing consistency and visibility across programs and empowering caseworkers to provide more knowledgeable service. According to Michael Allison, chief technology officer for OTS, this required a repository of clean data that can be shared across agencies. Information Builders' data quality technology cleanses citizen data, and identifies and links common relationships, households, and entity affiliations.

The State is now establishing an enterprise architecture to support these objectives on a larger scale, to improve the quality of citizen services.

The EA initiative will connect independent data sources, identify common relationships, and present information to participating agencies. While the immediate need is to modernize Medicaid systems, the long-term vision is to efficiently integrate systems and data from multiple state agencies.

Allison explains, "We are building on the principles and lessons learned from the CAFÉ implementation to consolidate IT infrastructures and assets. The state anticipates the incorporation of other agency programs into the architecture, such as the Child Welfare system, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families."

Selecting Omni-Gen™ for Master Data Management

The State selected Omni-Gen™ as its operational/transactional MDM system to support the following domains and entities:

  • People/Clients/Recipients (more than three million records)

  • Health Providers/Facilities/Partners/Vendors (more than 100,000 records)

  • Location/Facilities/Addresses

The system had to scale to support a dozen information systems, while addressing data modeling and metadata, hierarchy management, data quality management, data maintenance, and data stewardship. Furthermore, it had to simplify data loading, integration and synchronization, business services, and workflow; system architecture; security; and administration.

"Omni-Gen™ will be the de facto standard for MDM going forward," Allison notes. "Eligibility and enrollment for our Medicaid programs is the first project since it lays the foundation of creating golden citizen records for a large percentage of the population."

These golden records will feed the State's Medicaid Eligibility Data System (MEDS), which captures, maintains, and transmits eligibility information within the DoH and to external agencies. MEDS allows enrollees to receive services in a timely manner and ensures that Medicaid providers can bill and receive payment for services performed.

Executing a Grand Vision for State Agencies

The MDM architecture created for Eligibility and Enrollment will soon be applied to other domains and data types. These standards are good not only for the DoH, but for the state as a whole.

"We can expand them out to other services within the Louisiana Department of Health and integrate them with systems from the Department of Corrections, Department of Education, and other areas," Allison adds. "All these departments are looking at the EA solution as a speed-to-market enabler. These agencies should start sharing data more easily, rather than creating monolithic systems that can't natively talk to each other. We will continue to educate other agencies about the advantages of having clean master data, and how we can utilize it going forward."

Citizens will be properly recognized when they apply for state services, with caseworkers logging in through a common portal to access all information resources, enjoying a simpler, more standardized user experience. “This new architecture also upholds important security standards and federal guidelines designed to protect sensitive data," says Howze.

Allison agrees. "Reusability is one of the core drivers of this project. Our architecture encourages as much reuse as possible, leading to big cost savings for the state. There are endless opportunities to standardize our data management practices and extend these golden records to support many other systems. Information Builders is an important part of that strategy."

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