SDM® System Data Inform Policy
The Structured Decision Making®
(SDM) system offers both helpful decision-making tools for individual workers and shared, consistent language for supervisory consultation and coaching. It also contributes to the bigger picture of agency administration: The SDM®
system informs policy.
Data from SDM assessment tool use across a system are extremely valuable when looking at the bigger picture of overall department or agency functioning. For example, adult protective service agencies often know the number of referrals received and the number of open investigations or cases in any given week, month, or year. However, data collected through SDM tools offer an opportunity to understand the depth of work in addition to the volume of work. This deeper understanding includes urgency of responses needed, safety decisions upon response, and the level of risk of reoccurrence for cases being served. Macro-level data available through SDM implementation can assist agency leadership in making data-informed policy decisions.
Because data are only as good as the information entered in a system, it is important to support SDM system implementation with an ongoing quality assurance plan. Ongoing case reading, consultation, data cleaning, and training are important aspects of ensuring that data informing policy accurately reflect what is happening in the field.