Process Improvement

Process improvement involves the business practice of identifying, analyzing and improving existing business processes to optimize performance, meet best practice standards or simply improve quality and the user experience for customers and end-users.  Process improvement strategies strive to minimize errors, reduce waste, improve productivity and streamline efficiency.  The County departments are improving process by:
  • Reducing cycle time (ex: wait time, response time)
  • Improving  access to benefits and services
  • Improving efficiency

Cycle Time

9-1-1 Emergency Call Answering
County 9-1-1 Communications continues to exceed the State’s mandated response time by answering better than 95% of 9-1-1 calls in 15 seconds or less.  While the mandated response times are being exceeded, County 9-1-1 Communications strives to increase the percentage of calls answered within 15 seconds to better serve the public and first responders.  Call answer times are measured using data from California’s 9-1-1 Emergency Call Tracking System (ECaTS).
Lower Ambulance Patient Offload Time
The Emergency Medical Services strives to reduce current ambulance patient offload time in all hospitals to 25 minutes or less (measured at the 90th percentile). On a monthly basis, the Department will determine the 90th percentile for all ambulance offload times by measuring time from the ambulance arrival at the hospital until the hospital assumes care.  This will improve the customer experience, the efficient allocation of resources, and timely access to EMS services.
STEMI Scene Time Reduction
The Emergency Medical Services Department reduces prehospital scene times by tracking and reviewing scene times. The Department will identify incidents with scene times over 15 minutes for ST-elevation myocardial infarction patients and then review the corresponding patient care records to look for reasonable explanations for delays. If none can be found, the Department will follow up with ambulance crew members and the program manager to better prevent future delays.
Stroke Scene Time Reduction
The Emergency Medical Services reduces prehospital scene times by tracking and reviewing scene times. The Department identifies incidents with scene times over 15 minutes for patients with stroke-like symptoms and then review the corresponding patient care records to look for reasonable explanations for delays. If none can be found, the Department follow up with ambulance crew members and the program manager to better prevent future delays.
Timely Submission of Patient Care Reports (PCRs) for Time Sensitive Injuries
The Emergency Medical Services works to decrease the time elapsed between collected patient information on the 911 scene to the submission of patient care reports (PCR) to the transported hospital for time sensitive injures, such as Stroke, STEMI, or Trauma. Comparing the average of time interval from when a 911 ambulance crew arrived at the patient’s side and the time the chart was first posted to the database, to the average scene time of patients suffering from time sensitive injuries. This comparison will demonstrate an overall depiction of how well the system performs at delivering the most charts of the most critical patient types.
Trauma Scene Time Reduction
In order to discourage an increase in prehospital scene times, the Emergency Medical Services Department tracks and reviews trauma scene times.  This is accomplished by creating reports in Image Trend that display incidents with scene times over 15 minutes for major trauma victims.  The EMS Department will then review the corresponding Patient Care Records and look for reasonable explanations for delays.  If none can be found, then communication will occur with the crew members and the Program Manager, to educate and prevent future delays.  The goal is to lower average trauma scene time.
A Verified Index at Seven Business Days from the Day Of Recording
The County Clerk-Recorder focuses on improving the verification time for real estate recorded documents. The goal is to reduce the time to verify the index from the current 6 days to eventually 5 days. Although the documents are indexed within two business days, a verification of the index is performed to ensure its accuracy. An accurate index enhances the ability to research, locate, access, and retrieve recorded documents. An accurate index is critical to business operations in the Assessor's Office and other County departments and supports the County's focus on providing timely and quality services to clients.
Death Investigation Cases Closed within 60 Days
The Medical Examiner-Coroner (ME-C) measures the percentage of autopsy cases closed within 60 days as part of the accreditation process by the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) standards for autopsy reports. Almost half of the 10,000 deaths in Santa Clara County (~5,000) in a year are reportable to ME-C.
Technical Support: Mean Time to Resolve (MTTR)
In September 2021, Technology Services & Solutions (TSS) completed the implementation of the Cherwell Service Desk tool, providing an improved user experience for customers requesting service and support. This implementation allowed TSS to more accurately track Mean Time to Resolve (MTTR), which is an industry-standard measure of the average elapsed business time between ticket creation and resolution. MTTR serves a variety of functions, from measuring the customer experience to determining appropriate staffing levels in a service organization. 
Permit Processing Time
The Department of Planning and Development measures the time it takes to process planning land use entitlements/permit and building/grading permits (entitlements) from the date of application to approval, to issuance. Reducing permit processing times for entitlements is one of the highest priorities for the Department in providing improved Customer Service. Improved permit processing is an indication of improved process efficiency and staff development. The Department is committed to reduce the permit processing time in a range of 10 – 40 percent, depending on the type of permit.
Improve Customer Wait Time (County Clerk-Recorder)
The County Clerk-Recorder focuses on improving customer wait-time for the official records, vital records, fictitious business name, marriages, passports and other services the Department provides to County residents. This measure will help the Department determine the level of customer service, make necessary improvements, and increase efficiency.
Improve Customer Wait Time (Tax and Collections)
The Department of Tax and Collections works to improve customer wait-time in the following Units: Court Collections, Legal and General, Medical, Public Assistance, Property Tax, and Cashier. The measurement will help the Department to continue improve the customer experience through a higher degree of efficiency.

Improve Access to Benefits and Services

Decrease Total Number of Children Served in Out-of-home Placements
The Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) mission is to keep the children safe, families strong, and ensure that any child or youth who is at risk or has suffered abuse or neglect is safe, cared for, and grows up in a stable, loving family. The goal of the Department is to decrease the total number of children served in out-of-home placement by 20% each calendar year.
Readmission Rate (Behavioral Health Services)
The Behavioral Health Services Department (BHSD) works on reducing the use of inpatient psychiatric hospital services for adult and older adult consumers diagnosed with mental health related problems. The readmission rate measures the unplanned readmissions of clients who have been discharged from acute psychiatric hospitals within the past 30 days. BHSD has implemented a practice management solution to improve data captured at the Barbara Arons Pavilion and contract hospitals to allow for more efficient intervention. Clients will receive care in the community that supports their wellness and recovery and minimizes the need for acute psychiatric hospitalization.
Percent of Cases with an Arrears Payment Benchmarked Against State Average
The Department of Child Support Services works to increase the percentage of cases on the DCSS caseload that received an arrears payment toward past-due child support within the fiscal year, another of the federal performance measures tracked and reported at the State level and an indicator of the Department's ability to collect past-due child support. Increasing the percentage of custodial parents who receive a payment toward arrears means they will have more of the financial resources necessary to raise their children with the proper essentials (food, shelter, and clothing). This measure is also benchmarked against the state average.
Percent of Current Child Support Paid Benchmarked Against State Average
The Department of Child Support Services intends to increase the share of child support dollars collected of those owed for minor children on the agency caseload, a federal performance measure tracked and reported by the State of California Department of Child Support Services and a direct indicator of the Department's ability to increase collections. This number is benchmarked against the state average to compare this Department's performance against other counties in California.
Protecting Human Health: Number of Parcels Inspected and Receiving Non-chemical Weed Abatement to Reduce Fires
The County protects the health and safety of people by addressing structure fire hazards existing on properties in the environments where people live, eat, and play.  Inspections are done to ensure that there is safe defensible space to minimize the risk of fire spreading to a structure. If the property does not meet the established Minimum Fire Safety Standards, staff educates property owners and encourages voluntary compliance by clearing space around the structure. The number of inspections performed is an indicator of the potential risk to the general public.
Protecting Human Health: Compliance Rate for Parcel Abatement
The County protects the health and safety of people by addressing structure fire hazards existing on properties in the environments where people live, eat, and play. The compliance rate represents the percent of property owners that took positive action to make their property safe and the number of parcels abated represents the number of properties in which the county stepped in as a result of non-compliance to oversee the application of mechanical abatement.
Reduce Homeless Pet Population
In an effort to reduce the population of homeless pets entering local animal shelters, the County aims to increase the accessibility of affordable spay/neuter services for both owned and homeless pets in the county.  The County tracks the number of spay/neuter surgeries performed at private veterinary clinics through the County’s low-cost spay/neuter program.
Increase Access to Public Benefits and Increase the Number of Individuals Enrolled
The Department of Employment and Benefit Services (DEBS) empowers low-income individuals by providing access to healthcare, nutrition, and employment services while helping them transition to economic stability. DEBS focuses on increasing access to public benefits in order for families to have access to public benefits that will provide a minimum degree of support to for basic needs such as healthcare, food, and shelter.
Improve Senior Nutrition
The Senior Nutrition Program's goal is to improve the health of older adults through access to nutritious food, socialization, education, and enhanced access to community resources. Since the start of the pandemic, many of the traditional services of the program have been halted - namely, socialization and educational classes. In the next year, the program will work to enhance traditional services through online and virtual platforms. The work will happen in close collaboration with community partners.

Improve Efficiency

Technical Support: Ticket Volume
In a service organization, the Ticket Volume key performance indicator measures inbound requests to the Service Desk and other Technology and Services & Solutions (TSS) support teams in a given period. It can also be used to measure unplanned activities (e.g., service interruptions or security incidents) that may require attention. This data allows TSS to focus on operational improvement efforts, determine staffing levels, and improve the overall user experience.
Percent of Completed Assessments
The mission of the Office of the Assessor is to produce an annual assessment roll in a timely, accurate, and efficient manner.  To accomplish the mission, the Assessor has the responsibility to locate all taxable property in the County, identify ownership, establish a value for all property subject to local taxation, list the value on the assessment roll, and apply all legal exemptions. The Santa Clara County Assessor does not compute property tax bills, collect property taxes, establish property tax laws, or rules by which property is assessed, or set property tax rates.  The assessments allow the County of Santa Clara to collect and allocate property tax revenue, which supports essential public services provided by the County, local schools, cities and special districts. 
Assessment Appeals Online Applications
In July 2019, the Clerk of the Board implemented the Assessment Appeal Database Management (AADM) system to facilitate administration of the assessment appeal process. AADM, a publicly accessible and self-service web-based tool, enables users to enter, edit and track appeal applications submitted online. The Office of the Clerk of the Board proactively seeks opportunities to continuously improve administration of the assessment appeals process to better serve County applicants.
Increase Positive Outcomes For Homeless Pets
The Consumer and Environmental Protection Agency is committed to improving the live-release rate for pets that enter our shelter. Through continuous improvement to facilities and veterinary care, we are able to host more healthy animals as they await adoption. In addition, strong foster care programs and constant collaboration with other community partners improves the quality of life for the animals resulting in higher live release rates.
Protection from Cyber Security Risks and Attacks
The Information Security Office seeks to protect the County’s data and IT infrastructure by reducing cyber security risks and attacks.  In Fiscal Year 2020-2021, the Information Security Office will deploy, operate, and manage next-generation security tools & applications, risk management methods, and detection techniques to protect the county from cyber security risks and attacks. By doing so we will reduce the risk to the County’s data and IT infrastructure and protect the County’s ability to provide uninterrupted services to the community.
Outcome/Results
The Information Security Office continues to meet our goals by aligning the County with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cyber Security Framework (CSF). The model focuses on five core functions within an organization – Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover. These core functions are performed concurrently and continuously to form an operational culture that addresses the dynamic cybersecurity risk that organizations face. The Information Security Office continues to make progress in each core function, with the biggest strides this year in Identify and Protect by implementing and developing various cyber security technologies and training programs. The Information Security Office will continue to focus on increasing the County’s overall NIST CSF score and protect the County from cyber security risks and attacks.
Ratio of Preventive Maintenance to Unplanned Repairs
The Facilities and Fleet Department, Building Operations Division, is responsible for maintenance management of County facilities. By performing on-time and effective preventive maintenance, facilities are safe and reliable to serve the public and County staff. Unplanned repair maintenance occurs for a variety of reasons, including system failures, end of useful life for equipment, and wear and tear. The Department records the ratio of preventative maintenance to unplanned repair maintenance. The industry standard for the ratio of preventive maintenance to unplanned repair maintenance is 6 to 1 (6:1). This benchmark demonstrates when the preventive maintenance schedule is met, unplanned repairs are less frequent.
Maintain or Improve the Bond Rating of the County
The Controller-Treasurer Department is the steward of the public's financial resources. Its mission is to promote the County's financial viability by managing its accounting systems and assets with integrity. The Department manages the County's financial affairs to obtain superior bond ratings for all debt issuances. The goal is to maintain or improve the County's bond rating for all debt issuances to ensure the cost of borrowing is as low as possible. Saving on interest allows the County to provide more services to its residents.
Interactive Dashboard on Number and Type of Deaths Investigated
The Medical Examiner-Coroner (ME-C) implemented a de-identified interactive dashboard with maps and an open dataset to provide the public with crucial information about deaths in the County of Santa Clara The case records provides a unique lens through which to examine the impacts of everything from suicides, drugs to cold-related deaths. The geographic data helps government agencies or nonprofits design interventions that target areas that need it most. The dashboard serves two purposes: 1) Provide continued ME-C transparency and real-time data to researchers, law enforcement, journalists and the public regarding ME-C cases and 2) Reduce the number of California Public Records Act (CPRA) requests received by the Medical Examiner-Coroner's Office.
Cost Savings and Improvements through Negotiated Contractual Agreements
The Procurement Department promotes the use of negotiations in non-competitive and competitive contract awards to realize tangible cost savings and contractual enhancements to benefit the County. Cost savings and other improvements to contracts will be tracked and reported.
Increase Number of Competitively Awarded Contracts
The Procurement Department will work to increase the number of competitively awarded contracts from sixty-five percent (65%) as accomplished in FY2021 to seventy percent (70%) in FY2022.
Intelligent Traffic Signal System - Total Expressway Travel Time
The total travel time measure is illustrative of the performance of the expressway system in moving traffic.  The County invests in the expressway system through its Capital Improvement Program.  to improve safety for users and/or improve carrying capacity.  This measure is designed to gauge the effectiveness of investments in traffic capacity through traditional roadway improvements and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) projects.
The chart shows the the total expressway travel time during AM and PM peak times.
Intelligent Traffic Signal System - Total Estimated Expressway Vehicle Trips
The Department continuously invests in technology to improve traffic signal operation performance to be more efficient. As a result, the expressways signal synchronization is fully automated to select the most optimal signal timing plan based on the amount of traffic on the expressways at any given time.
The chart shows the number of vehicle trips per day on County expressways is shown.
Pavement Condition Index
The Pavement Condition measure is commonly used in the pavement maintenance profession to indicate the condition on roads for the purpose of usability, lifespan, programming capital investments, measuring the cost liability of the road system. County roads are graded using a standardized method consistently utilized throughout the Bay Area cities and counties. The method is mandated by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the local agency is ineligible for regions funding unless the methodology is followed. The data is recorded as Pavement Condition Index (PCI). The PCI numerical rating for the condition of the roads is on a scale from 0 to 100, where 0 is the worst possible condition and 100 is the best. PCI is used to develop budgets, identify preventive maintenance schedules and strategies, evaluate materials and designs, and provide a historical condition of the road.
Increase Relative/NREFM Placements
The Department of Family and Children Services’ (DFCS) mission is to keep the children safe, families strong and ensure that any child or youth who is at risk or has suffered abuse or neglect is safe, cared for and grows up in a stable, loving family. It is the belief of the DFCS that if out-of-home placement for children and youth is necessary, placement with relatives or a non-related extended family member (NREFM) is the preferred resource and one that will maintain the child’s familial connection. The preferred placement option is one where children can be less impacted by trauma, where they can grow up in stable and loving family and where they are on a path to reaching their unique potential.
Resource Improvement, Recruitment and Retention
The Valley Health Plan is committed to retaining and promoting valuable employees, recruiting and hiring the most qualified; assuring effective leadership qualities in our managers; and furnishing technical, interpersonal, and career development training and coaching for our workforce.  We will meet these goals by: (1) establish a training program for employees that encourage professional development; (2) develop and implement a departmental Onboarding Plan; (3) progress toward a highly engaged workforce, as measured by the Gallup Employee Engagement and Well-Being Survey, and provide opportunity for staff’s perspective on organization; and (4) develop targeted staff training focusing on regulatory and service improvement to create a more viable and engaged workforce to serve the membership.
Review for IT and Data Sharing Projects
The Privacy Office seeks to promote and coordinate enterprise privacy initiatives across the County and strives to balance our growing need to share information with our responsibility to protect it, while elevating the County’s privacy posture. The Privacy Office has acquired the TrustArc Privacy Platform, which is a tool that is designed, in part, to conduct Privacy Reviews including identifying gaps and risks.   This tool has allowed the Department to better keep track of project status and derive metrics that demonstrate the level of efficiency and the range of departments served.