Adopting a shared services model for data support: Best practices learned by the office of surveillance, evaluation, and research at the Texas department of state health services
Background Shared services is a business model for managing and providing basic administrative services such as information technology and human resources. Shared services is recognized as a cost efficient and effective use of limited resources. The shared services model has not been widely adopted in the public health sector despite the need for expanded use of limited resources. The model's use for more technical functions remains under-explored. Methods The Texas Department of State Health Services, Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Section, began implementing a shared services model for data-related activities beginning in September 2012. Epidemiologists, evaluators, and research positions were organized under in a central location, the Office of Surveillance, Evaluation, and Research (OSER). Strategic planning for OSER commenced in January 2013 and has included the use of business plans, focus groups, team-building exercises, and development of performance metrics. A customer service model has been adopted with emphasis on OSER's primary purpose in serving the Section. Results OSER has enabled all Section programs to receive data support. Programs that have traditionally lacked in-program data-related personnel have begun to adopt data-driven strategies. Increased in-house data capacity has reduced costs associated with paid, external contractors. Resistance to change has served as the largest barrier to implementation. Lessons learned include the need for vocal and visible support from Section leadership early in the process. Conclusions Shared services may offer a viable solution to limited resources for public health data support. Strategies and lessons learned from the Texas DSHS can serve as resources for other public health agencies.
Administration, management, leadership
Public health administration or related administration
Assess the use of the shared services model for public health data support
Identify best practices for implementing a shared services model for epidemiology, evaluation, and research
Discuss the advantages and disadvantages to incorporating a customer service emphasis
Keyword(s): Management, Epidemiology
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was project coordinator for strategic planning involving the formation, design, and implentation of OSER. I facilitated OSER team growth and implemented QI procedures used by the Office.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.