By Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D
President, bSci21Media, LLC
Emmylou Santos, M.A., BCBA, LBA, co-founded A.G.E.S. Learning Solutions in 2008, in the San Francisco Bay Area. After three years of steady growth from group home consultation, they went full time with the company in 2011. When the company started, they managed business operations with spreadsheets – to do everything from client tracking and billing, to graphing data. Moreover, organizations and parents were billed directly for services. However, after the autism insurance mandate went into effect in 2012, A.G.E.S started billing insurance companies for services, which, coupled with overall company growth, prompted a look into practice management software.
When the company initially transitioned to more automated software solutions, they found themselves scattered across multiple platforms, each specialized for only one task. Moreover, the administrative staff tasked with managing workflows across platforms soon became overwhelmed. Soon operational bottlenecks arose, such as delayed followups with insurance claims, which started to impact overall financial health.
In 2015, A.G.E.S. transitioned to CentralReach to manage their administrative operations.
But company growth also demanded a new data collection system. Like most ABA providers, the company relied on the infamous “client binders” to manage programs, data sheets, and materials. A.G.E.S. implemented an electronic data collection system in 2014, but they were still looking for ways to streamline their operations. As soon as AGES realized that CentralReach’s clinical package was more advanced than their current data collection package, they immediately made the switch.
Since then, all aspects of the business were integrated into the same system – from billing to data collection to program creation and implementation.
From the BCBAs perspective, their job was streamlined so they can do more of what they were trained to do – supervision and program creation. Gone are the days of spending the supervision session shuffling through data sheets and updating mastered target lists. The BCBA can pull up real-time data from anywhere in the world to monitor progress, and the software graphs it automatically. This allows the BCBA to make immediate changes to programs based on current performance, and to do so before ever setting foot in the client’s home.
As for the front line staff, their programs and data sheets are all on iPads, which significantly reduced the need to juggle clipboards, papers, and timers. There are no clipboards, papers, or timers to keep up with anymore. Moreover, the staff can immediately track prompt levels and target skills in the moment, and if they ever need a reminder on a particular aspect of a program, the “info” button gives teaching tips.
Today, due in part to operational efficiencies made possible by CentralReach, A.G.E.S. serves over 100 clients in schools, homes, and residential care facilities in the Bay Area and in Salt Lake County Utah. To learn more about A.G.E.S. Learning Solutions, visit http://ageslearningsolutions.com/ and visit https://centralreach.com/ for a demo of their software.
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Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D is the President and Founder of bSci21Media, LLC, which owns the top behavior analytic media outlet in the world, bSci21.org. bSci21Media aims to disseminate behavior analysis to the world and to support ABA companies around the globe through the Behavioral Science in the 21st Century blog and its subsidiary services, bSciEntrepreneurial, bSciWebDesign, bSciWriting, bSciStudios and the ABA Outside the Box CEU series. Dr. Ward received his PhD in behavior analysis from the University of Nevada, Reno under Dr. Ramona Houmanfar. He has served as a Guest Associate Editor of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, and as an Editorial Board member of Behavior and Social Issues. Dr. Ward has also provided ABA services to children and adults with various developmental disabilities in day centers, in-home, residential, and school settings, and previously served as Faculty Director of Behavior Analysis Online at the University of North Texas. Dr. Ward is passionate about disseminating behavior analysis to the world and growing the field through entrepreneurship. Todd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org