Developing smarter systems to inform and enhance service delivery

Last year, Kinark’s Information Technology (IT) team implemented core elements of the agency’s five-year digital transformation strategy, replacing outdated systems with integrated cloud-based technology that, when fully implemented, will support evidence-based service delivery and enhance productivity and communications.

According to Chief Information Officer, Karim Ramji, this foundational work involved migrating both Kinark and our child and youth mental health service provider partners to a common client information system (CIS). This integrated CIS will pave the way for better data collection and information sharing amongst Kinark staff, clients and partners.

The next step in the process is implementing a new Business Intelligence Management System (BIMS) to further enhance timely and effective service planning and decision-making. Ramji and his IT team are now developing the system in collaboration with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and working through the design, process and security requirements of a provincial BIMS to support the transformation of child and youth mental health services.

“The technology will provide all of us with data that we can actually use for evidence-informed decision making,” says Cathy Paul, Kinark’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “At Kinark, we are committed to providing quality services and the starting point is understanding how current services are actually working for kids and whether they’re making a difference.”

“This complex work is positioning us to make technological advancements where they really count – improving the quality of our systems and connections so that staff have what they need to support the children, youth and families we serve,” says Ramji.

In March 2018, Kinark and one of our partner agencies were able to share client information electronically for the first time. “The idea is to remove the burden from parents who carry around paper files from one agency to another,” says Ramji. “With the press of a button we were able to share information that the organization needed to help that child.”

As we move to a common, integrated client information system, the need to protect people’s personal information is paramount. Over the past year, we reviewed and updated all IT policies and procedures around collecting, storing and sharing client data. Our priority is to ensure that we take every precaution to safeguard the privacy and personal information of our clients and staff.

“As a lead agency in children’s mental health, and one of the largest providers of children’s services in the province, it’s important for us to be thought leaders in the work that we’re doing now and that we will do in the future to support quality service delivery in all our service streams,” Ramji says.