2018 was an exciting year of growth for Casebook PBC and for the Human Services sector as a whole. As we are looking forward to 2019, here are some of the things we are looking forward to.

SaaS in local and state governments

As NASCIO pointed out, 2019 is going to be a big year for cloud services. A lot of forward-thinking organizations have already or are in the process of adopting the SaaS model for their offerings as it makes it easier for them to create scalable solutions to meet the needs of modern agencies. The Casebook Platform was born as a SaaS offering as we believe in simplifying the lives of our customers by taking over the tasks related to managing and maintaining a secure and stable infrastructure in human services.

One of the things we are looking forward to in that space is the move to a hybrid model, where agencies can decide whether they want to completely outsource their infrastructure and security needs as part of their software purchase or decide that they want to retain some of that control as part of a wider approach. Casebook PBC offers solutions for either level of organizational maturity and we’re happy to see these concepts emerging in state and local systems management.

The rise of standardized data

As the year was ending, the US House passed the OPEN Government Data Act which codifies the role of Chief Data Officer at the federal level and creates an open-first approach to non-sensitive government data. While we understand there is still a lot to be assessed in terms of the impact on Health and Human Services data, we are delighted to see a push for increased standardization around data handling in government agencies.

As the year progresses, expect many state discussions to focus on how to enable increased access to non-sensitive government data. This will result in many new insights and tools being created using that data. As more and more open data becomes available, we expect to see a number of mash-up applications (applications that combine data from different sources) that will enhance the move to a digital government.

Privacy and security are essential

But as more of that data gets open up, there will be an equivalent demand for increased privacy controls. In 2018, the general public learned more about how the data they were generating through apps and use of social networks was being commercialized, pushing for increased demand to curb abuses by some of the worst actors in the field. This will continue to be a growing concern and we hope that a judicious balance will be struck when legislation inevitably shows up in 2019. At the core of those changes will be a need to not only balance innovation and privacy but also ensure that the appropriate frameworks are created to keep and tighten up security.

It is no accident that Security and Risk Management are still the top priority for state CIOs and we believe that new frameworks could emerge around appropriate controls in data governance. While there has been a lot of buzz around the blockchain and how it could be leveraged to solve those challenge, no pragmatic solution has yet been presented as the standard-bearer to handle privacy and security and we are looking forward to seeing an evolving discussion in this arena in 2019.

Predictive analytics starts to pay off

There are two schools of thoughts around how to best use artificial intelligence in human services. On one end of the spectrum, some state and localities are using predictive analytics to dictate behavior (ie. building model that direct to one particular type of action.) On the other hand of the spectrum is a school of thought around using predictive analytics to review if things should have been done differently, using historical data to assess whether policy or practice changes ought to be made.

At Casebook PBC, we stand firmly on the belief that a strong predictive analytics model can improve lives without doing harm. We believe in the power of software to improve outcomes and knowledge (Casebook is actually an anagram for “Can Any Software Enable Better Outcomes Or Knowledge”) and our platform is using a complex data model to help drive improvement in outcomes. In child welfare, we’ve had some success in improving kinship reunification (which, thanks to last year’s passage of the Family First Act is a hot topic) and are looking forward to others joining in to improve outcomes with better predictive analytics models this year.

If you want to talk to us about any of those topics, feel free to reach out to us on social media as we are looking forward to continuing to work together with state and local agencies, as well other members of the human services ecosystem to drive improvements of outcomes through technology.