The Use of Decision Models to Overcome Growth Challenges

Susanne KennedyDirector, Markets & Growth
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The Use of Decision Models to Overcome Growth Challenges

A case study with Upskill ABA


The Big Boom of Behavior Analysts

In the years leading up to 2000, families affected by autism often faced financial burdens due to limited insurance coverage for autism care. However, around that time, there was a notable shift. Thanks to the implementation of new laws and regulations in several states, more widespread insurance coverage for autism care, including critical services like applied behavior analysis (ABA) became more common. Fast forward to today, and most states now have laws that mandate insurance coverage for autism. This has vastly improved the landscape, making it much easier for families to access the necessary assistance for autism care.

What is also interesting is that these legislative changes led to a significant growth in the number of Behavior Analysts specializing in this area. Since 2000, the number of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) increased from 392 to 66339, according to

What makes a growth sprout like this so challenging to navigate?

A Growth spurt like this does not come without challenges. Dr.Kristen Brya, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst at the doctoral level (BCBA-D) and a licensed behavior analyst in Arizona and Texas, explains some of the challenges that aroused due to the rapid growth in her industry.

“In order to become certified, a candidate will need to complete 1500 hours of concentrated supervised fieldwork or 2,000 hours of supervised fieldwork. Back in early 2007, when I obtained my certification, my supervisor had over 30 years of experience in the field and I was able to take part in a year-long supervision experience post certification with another mentor. Due to the substantial growth in the field, it can be challenging to find supervisors that have that same level of knowledge and experience.” Dr. Kristen Brya


To help Behavior Analysts in making more informed decisions while out in the field, Kristen started experimenting with decision models and founded Upskill ABA together with Dr. Michael J. Cameron, a licensed Board Certified Behavior Analyst with extensive legacy in the field. Together, they build out clinical decision support systems (CDSS) for managed healthcare organizations as well as ABA provider agencies to help them become more efficient and effective.


Decision models – what are they?

Decision models simplify complex issues into manageable parts.

Building out decision models to answer these questions require knowledge from an expert like Kristen who is experienced in the field coupled with a flexible and powerful technology solution. This combined approach can help reduce errors, ensure consistency and reduce the time and effort to reach the final decision-making stage.

For her bigger clients in the healthcare insurance space, she works closely with her service provider partner, Neota, to customize their solutions to suit their needs.

“The ultimate question we are trying to solve for one of our healthcare insurance clients is if their members are getting appropriate, responsible and effective care. This overarching question is supported by multiple smaller questions, for example, what is the client’s learning gains score, is their progress static or is there an upward trajectory, and are they operating within their scope of practice to deliver these services?” – Kristen Brya

Upskill ABA has worked with several no-code and low-code platforms in the building of their business to find the right technical fit to support the decision models they are creating. With Neota, a powerful no-code platform for building automation solutions without code, teams, like Upskill ABA, can easily develop and deploy decision-making and automate processes.


Finding the Right No-Code/Low-Code Partner

Kristen’s experience with no-code/low-code solutions goes many years back, but it wasn’t until recently where she made the switch from a previous vendor in the similar space and transferred all her client work over.

“We tested out multiple vendors, but what it really boiled down to was the service quality, the true no-code experience so that I am able to build clinical decision support systems independently, and the data management features that Neota offers” – Kristen Brya

Neota comes with a dedicated support team to help users at every step of the digital journey. Neota’s experienced Client Solutions team is there to help customers get instant value from the platform. With Managed Services offerings, Neota can also manage the entire solution development process — from conceptualization through to development, deployment and change management. As for Kristen and Upskill ABA, she was looking for that extra customer support that could offer advice and assistance on how to build out her solutions in the most efficient way.

When moving over to Neota the team also quickly realized that building solutions on the platform required fewer steps to reach completion compared to other no-code/low-code providers, and alerts within the platform helped Kristen to quickly realize what needed to be fixed while building something.

“I’m not a software engineer, so when somethings break, I can’t look at the source code and understand it. Neota is not like that, it’s visual and when something breaks, the warning messages are clear and easy to understand and if I am truly stuck the customer support team provides rapid assistance.” – Kristen Brya

This was an important factor in selecting the right platform. She knew she needed a technology where she could build out complex solutions without having to learn how to code.

In addition to that, Kristen also needed a platform with advanced data management features to make her solutions as efficient as possible and help her clients save additional time. When evaluating patients, certain information such as date of birth, parents’ names, and address often repeats across various solutions. Neota allows you to retrieve this data from another application or database, eliminating the need for users to input the same information repeatedly for each patient visit.


What about the Return-on-Investment?

Overall, the implementation of decision models can significantly impact the ROI of organizations by enhancing efficiency, cutting costs, improving quality, and offering valuable insights. As the healthcare landscape evolves, the strategic adoption of decision models will be crucial for organizations aiming to enhance outcomes and optimize ROI. With Neota’s advanced Data Management features that eliminates the need to enter in repeated information, solutions developed on the platform were completed much faster for end users compared to those built on other no-code/ low-code platforms. In Kristen’s case, this enables Behavior Analysts to save time and make better informed decisions for their clients than can be achieved without the use of clinical decision support systems.  In addition, the clinical decision support system functions as a knowledge management system, in that every time a user accesses the model, they are accessing articles, standards of care, job aids, and other resources all gathered in one place for easy access.


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