Utah first state to use Artificial Intelligence to improve the quality of social services
Lyssn.io, Inc. announced today a new five-year contract with the State of Utah Department of Human Services (Utah DHS). The department will use Lyssn’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform to assess the quality of prevention services offered under the Family First Prevention Services Act (Family First) and evaluate the use of evidence-based practices in Utah’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
This contract marks the first-ever statewide implementation of an AI platform for quality improvement in a social services program.
“Family First passed in 2018 and offers states an amazing opportunity to expand their social services reach and help more families than ever before,” said Jenny Cheng, Family First Coordinator at Lyssn. “But to access the new funding, states need to implement, monitor and demonstrate the use and quality of approved evidence-based practices – something that is new to many, and exactly where Lyssn can help.”
Nearly all quality monitoring in social services, mental health and health coaching today is done manually by trained individuals – either by reviewing charts or by sitting in and listening in on sessions. While effective for assessing a small sample set, this manual method is expensive, time-consuming, and impossible to do for every single interaction. To qualify for Family First funding, states are required to perform much more extensive monitoring than ever before.
“In my background working in public health and child welfare I’ve seen firsthand what a big challenge it can be to meet federal reporting requirements,” said Cheng. “Most agencies simply don’t have the staff, funds, or a way to collect this kind of data. Utah is on the leading edge for implementation of their Family First plan, and breaking ground in the use of AI assessment in social services. With Lyssn, Utah DHS will be able to demonstrate quality for all interactions across the state in a reliable and affordable way.”
Lyssn’s AI platform – built on the largest database of its kind – is in extensive use in both commercial and non-profit coaching, with behavioral health providers in the United States and United Kingdom, and in university training programs across the U.S. The automated AI-platform tracks more than 50 externally validated metrics, including Motivational Interviewing (MI), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), engagement in a conversation, empathy, use of open-ended questions, and more.
Many states, like Utah, are including Motivational Interviewing in their Title IV-E Prevention Plan for Family First. “Lyssn AI has been specifically trained over a decade of academic research to accurately measure and rate the application of MI,” said Lyssn co-founder and CEO David Atkins, Ph.D. “All our metrics are based on established and proven rating systems and our MI metric has a 92% accuracy rate. That means that Lyssn gives agencies and providers reliable feedback that is on-par with human raters – just at a much larger scale and a lot faster.”
In addition to the AI platform, Lyssn will work closely with contracted service providers and Utah state employees to establish guidelines for best practices and offer direct training for up to 35 locations. “Training can be one of the biggest issues,” said Cheng. “To handle the regular turnover that occurs in every social service setting, and address case workers’ needs to apply new practices and skills, regular and ongoing training is crucial to a successful Family First plan.” The Lyssn AI platform will offer ongoing opportunities for case workers to learn and practice skills and can help supervisors train and onboard new hires.