“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean and make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” –Steve Jobs
Steve is right. Simple is nothing more than an indication of complexity of thought. This is true in designing your data model and your data entry screens as it is in organizing your pantry and writing text to friends.
CaseWorthy is gearing up to a profound 2024. We are going to see growth in refracturing our apBuilder tools that will further ease the configuration options available. That got me thinking about all the possibilities that are in the hands of site administrators to customize the system and simplify the user experience without jeopardizing the robust use of data at the organization.
But just because we can, should we? Constantly changing data entry expectations is a slippery slope to full-on revolt of those we are dedicated to support. Understanding the value of simplicity is a critical component to prioritizing the user’s needs, integrity of data, and consistency in the user experience. With these values in mind, administrators should consider the following when making changes to their system:
1. Is the change/update required for compliance?
Compliance is essential. Any changes that are required for compliance should be prioritized and communicated clearly to users and closely monitored as the user adapts to the changing requirement.
2. Is the change/update imperative to internal or external quality improvement efforts?
Quality improvement matters and data-informed decision making should be at its core. Changes that can demonstrably improve internal or external quality are more likely to be accepted by users.
3. Does the change/update provide further ability to support the flow of your data entry and adherence to your model of care?
Data flow optimization is crucial. Any changes that streamline data flow and support better adherence to the model of care will be valuable for your organization.
These are crucial considerations to ensure any changes are relevant, beneficial, and ultimately leading to minimizing user frustration and strengthening the use of data across the organization.
Overall, the importance of balancing innovation with user needs and data integrity is paramount to any quality database management. By carefully considering these factors, administrators can make informed decisions about data entry changes that truly benefit everyone involved. In doing so, administrators will advance in simplifying the design that reflects their complexity of thought. This fosters a sustainable approach to database management, where progress doesn’t come at the expense of user experience or data security. And this, as Steve would say, is where mountains are moved.
Would you add to this list of questions? How do you achieve this balance in your data management strategy? I’d love to hear more about your agency’s simplicity and efficiency in action!
About the Author
Sara Nagel is an Account Executive at CaseWorthy and has been with the company since 2019. Prior to joining CaseWorthy, Sara spent over 15 years supporting Quality Improvement and Compliance activities for human service agencies. This included database administration and data utilization. She has received recognition from the Council on Accreditation for her leadership in leveraging data in the pursuit of operational and performance outcomes. Sara has a Master of Social Welfare Administration and Management and is fueled by her passion for putting meaningful data in the hands of human service professionals.