2018: Seabourne Year in Review

2018 was a busy year for Seabourne. We’d like to share some of the highlights, successes and learnings from this past year.

As you may know, Seabourne is a data strategy and engineering firm; we help clients make better use of data in decision making and strategic planning. In 2018, we continued expanding this work with bigger organizations requiring more complex data, and some new technologies like predictive modeling and AI.

One surprise in 2018 was how much time we spent working with clients on product strategy. Though we are always excited to work with technology companies developing data products, we have seen increasing interest from may different companies and organizations who are interested in building data products and apps that support their core missions.

Though we accomplished a lot in 2018, two projects stand out.

Kaiser Permanente

Working with our partners at the Institute for People, Place and Possibility, we developed a brand-new Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) planning tool for Kaiser Permanente. The KP CHNA application collects data on 140 indicators across 10 different health needs, including cancer, heart disease, homelessness and opioid addiction. The application automatically analyzes and ranks the health needs for different communities, making it easy to identify which public health issues are most pressing.

The main focus of the project was to increase the efficiency of the KP team by reducing the amount of time required to collect, analyze and create reports for the Community Health Needs Assessment. Though designed for KP stakeholders, the tool is freely accessible to anyone who is interested in downloading the data.


Institute for Healthcare Improvement

We have continued our three year long partnership with IP3 and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to build the Measure What Matters (MWM) platform. MWM is designed to help local collaboratives identify, measure and share progress towards improvement in their communities.

With a library of over 2,500 common measures of community and population health, plus a custom questionnaire module for primary data collection from users, MWM is designed to help novice and sophisticated users collect the right data to show impact.


Lessons from 2018

Every year, we have the opportunity to learn from our mistakes, and 2018 was no different. Last year, we were reminded of the importance of having a crises management plan. Despite a rigorous QA process, we discovered an error in one of our applications that impacted the accuracy of the data being generated. Though the overall impact was low, there were a subset of users who were affected by incorrect data.

Software bugs are a matter of when, not if, and all too often it's easy to forget the importance of planning ahead for how you will handle a bug. This goes beyond the technical plan for fixing issues in a timely fashion, and must include a communication plan, and most importantly, an after-action review to understand what went wrong. In our case, we used this experience as an opportunity to identify some gaps in our project management and QA process, while also updating our toolset to include better automated testing tools to support our development workflow.

And finally, it re-affirmed one our core values: we measure our own success not by how we perform when things go well, but by how well we respond when things go wrong.

Thoughts on 2019

We’re excited for the coming year. There are a lot of big changes on the horizon for data and technology, and we’ve got some very exciting projects underway.

Though we have a good chunk of the year already scheduled, we are looking for one new client this year: a small to mid-sized technology or non-profit that is seeking to make better use of data for planning or productization. If that sounds like someone you know, let us know.

All the best for the new year from us at Seabourne,

- Mike, Dave, Scott and Luke