2 page Case Study
Posted: 3/5/2012
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Devereux New York Healthcare Provider Boosts Data Collection by 60 Percent, for Better Clinical Outcomes

Devereux New York serves special-needs children with autism, severe disabilities, and disorders. It uses TeachMe from Operant Systems, built on Microsoft mobile and web technologies, to serve more children more effectively than it could before. With more extensive, timely, and accurate behavioral data, Devereux can better analyze client progress and modify treatment plans.

Business Needs
Some children are born with combinations of developmental disabilities, and psychiatric and behavioral disorders.

Devereux New York is a nonprofit healthcare organization founded to help them. It includes a residential campus, community-based intensive care facilities (ICFs), and day programs, all designed to help children who are severely disabled and disordered to achieve all that they can.

But for Devereux New York and healthcare providers like it, increasing challenges threaten the efficacy of their programs. The number of children diagnosed with autism, for example, has doubled in a decade, creating unprecedented demand for limited services. Meanwhile, those services have become more expensive to provide, at a time when funding for them has become increasingly scarce.

That’s the context in which Devereux New York uses applied behavioral analysis to treat its clients, especially those with autism. The technique discourages specific negative behaviors, rewards specific positive ones, and continually refines the treatment program based on each child’s progress.

Applied behavioral analysis depends upon a massive, virtually continuous collection of behavioral data for clinicians to analyze. That data comes from staff who both work with the children and lug around binders and clipboards to record their behaviors. Behaviors could go unreported, or reported inaccurately, inconsistently, and tardily.

In 2010, John O’Keefe, Executive Director of Devereux New York, discovered TeachMe from Operant Systems. While electronic systems for the collection and analysis of behavioral data had long existed, O’Keefe had long found them insufficient. Traditional electronic solutions required staff to report behaviors through PC interfaces—which meant that much reporting had to wait hours or more, until staff had the opportunity to transcribe data from their binders. Analysis, too, was often confined to client-server systems
* We know we can depend on Operant TeachMe for data collection and analysis because it’s built on Microsoft, from the front-end smartphones to the back-end database. *

John O’Keefe
Executive Director, Devereux New York

that limited the flexibility with which clinicians could use them.

In contrast, TeachMe brings together technologies that address the shortcomings of traditional solutions. Devereux New York staff record behaviors as they happen, using the Windows Phones that they carry with them. A set of disarmingly engaging icons for various behaviors make it easy, even intuitive, for staff to learn and use the TeachMe app. TeachMe is also designed to allow staff that record skills acquisition behavior—including speech and language teachers, physical and occupational therapists, applied behavior analysts, and special-education staff—to document their services.

Behavioral data is uploaded to a Microsoft SQL Server database hosted “in the cloud” by Operant at its datacenter. Clinicians analyze the data using a TeachMe web interface with graphs and charts that show the severity and frequency of monitored behaviors. They conduct these analyses from anywhere, at any time, with an Internet connection.

Clinicians use their analyses to help decide whether each child’s treatment plan is proving effective, and to make changes to those plans—for example, changing behaviors to be monitored or skills to be learned. Those changes are immediately sent over the web to the Windows Phones of the relevant staff members.

With a year’s use of TeachMe behind him, O’Keefe declares the solution a success for his staff, his school, and, most importantly, the children under their care.

“We know we can depend on Operant TeachMe for data collection and analysis because it’s built on Microsoft, from the front-end smartphones to the back-end database,” says O’Keefe.

Increases Volume of Collected Data by 60 Percent
Because staff can now record data more quickly, easily, and promptly, they’re recording more of it. The volume of recorded behaviors immediately available for analysis has increased by 60 percent, fueling faster and better analyses, and better refinements in treatment plans.

Gains Consistent Reporting, Analysis from Across the Enterprise
The children may be campus residents, day-program clients, ICF participants, or any combination. For the first time, Devereux New York assembles comprehensive reports and analyses that cover a child’s experience across these environments.

Successfully Treats “More Intense, More Problematic” Children
The school now successfully treats children with issues that are “more intense, more problematic,” than previously, according to O’Keefe. That success is based in part on the more in-depth analyses and closer tracking of client progress that clinicians gain with TeachMe. It’s also based on the greater time that staff spends with clients, time previously consumed in administrative chores.

Makes Better, Fuller Use of Remote Care Settings
Devereux New York opened four ICFs in the past year, a major expansion for the school, in part because it is better able to identify children from its residential and other programs who are likely to thrive in the small-scale, community-based setting, and because it can better monitor and assess their progress.

Monitors, Evaluates Staff More Effectively
Administrators use TeachMe to assess how thoroughly staff members track behaviors and implement the treatment plan for each child under their supervision—giving administrators a new and highly useful tool with which to evaluate staff performance.

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Solution Overview

Organization Size: 250 employees

Organization Profile
Devereux New York, based in Red Hook, New York, is part of the national Devereux network of programs and services that benefit tens of thousands of people with disabilities and disorders.

Software and Services
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Windows Phone

Vertical Industries

United States


Operant Systems