EBT’s Analytic Advantages for Public Social Services

November 5, 2019 Jerry Owens

Understanding EBT’s Analytic Advantages to Better Serve Participants

 Live from the EBT Next Gen 2019 conference in Orlando -- our Conduent Payment Services experts are busy this week, prognosticating about everything from the future of Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT), to exploring the benefits of advanced analytics.

To that end, Sunil Mehta, Senior Analytics Technical Delivery Leader for Conduent Public Sector Payment Services participated in a panel discussion entitled, Using Data to Better Serve Participants.

Mehta described how analytic tools and techniques can be used to foster valuable insights to help agencies lower costs, streamline social programs and better serve participants. According to Mehta, EBT analytics can help state agencies to:

  • Inform mission-critical insights into each individual participant’s WIC experience
  • Deliver ‘data-driven’ results to better serve participants at any touchpoint –  (whether face-to-face, via the web, using mobile devices, or at health clinics, grocery stores, pharmacies and other locations)
  • Learn innovative techniques to streamline and enhance WIC/EBT operations
  • Generate dashboards with pre-built queries, ad hoc reports, and other flagged activities to help specific users, from nutritionists, to case managers, to fraud detection specialists
  • Move beyond traditional descriptive/diagnostic results to more predictive/prescriptive analytics to enhance the effectiveness of social services.

Recent research from the USDA also underscores the importance of data analytics to the future of SNAP/WIC EBT operations. USDA’s mid-2017 WIC research identified two primary opportunities for data collection:

  • Developing EBT analytics; and,
  • Creating a centralized WIC data repository.

An Advanced Analytics Rx

Mehta described how AI-based analytics would be used to help public sector audiences. For example, he explained, “AI can be used for everything from analyzing geographic maps/locations, to measuring the use and potential alternatives to specific food prescriptions in WIC programs.” 

Federal, state and local agencies can use advanced analytics to:

  • Streamline case management – to ensure every participant receives the benefits they are entitled to and will use. With the right tools/techniques, nutritionists can provide optimal benefits to WIC program participants so that food prescriptions deliver the best nutritional fit and each participant will redeem and consume the foods included in their prescribed diets. 
  • Determine adjunct eligibility  by comparing collected financial information against specific requirements for separate programs, such as SNAP, agency personnel can help determine if certain participants should also be referred to additional social services.
  • Mitigate fraud risks – on the retail side, fraud detection can help reduce risks to determine what type of risks WIC programs are prone to because of regional demographics.

Mehta also briefly described how the state of Oklahoma has improved payment services by implementing EBT. He highlighted the following statement from Tom Pennington, Director of Electronic Payment Systems, Oklahoma Department of Human Services, “Our cardholders rely on the payments they receive and working with Conduent has helped us deliver those funds more securely and accurately. They even converted the technology behind the scenes without interrupting services. Their expertise makes all the difference.”

These are the just a few of the latest insights coming from Orlando at EBT Next Gen 2019. Here’s hoping you will join one of our Payment Services team’s informative sessions, and stop by booths 24 & 25 to visit with our Conduent experts at the show.

About the Author

Payment Services Director, Conduent Public Sector

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