Forty Years of Making a Difference: Where We Are (Part II)

In honor of our fortieth anniversary in 2019, we will be posting a series of posts from our founder, Jack Marston, Sr., reflecting on where we’ve been, where we are, and where we plan to go. These will be posted on the first three Wednesdays in February. Click here to read last week’s post about where we’ve been.


After all our success creating applications for the public health sector, we knew this is where we wanted to focus our efforts.

While spending time in these public health clinics, we saw that many of the same patients served in the local health departments were also mothers and children who were part of the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Recognizing this crossover of clientele, we began developing an online and real-time WIC system. This project included the provision of WIC food vouchers for the WIC participants.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the federal government and other states became interested in replacing the paper vouchers issued to WIC participants with a more automated process, similar to a credit card. Together with Kentucky, we worked to convert the state’s food voucher process to an electronic card processing system using an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card. This was the first online, real-time WIC EBT processing in the country. Kentucky was just the first of many WIC state agencies and tribal organizations to adopt WIC Direct, our EBT processing solution.

Building on what we started with Kentucky’s WIC system, we’ve also expanded to perform maintenance and enhancements services for two of the three State Agency Model (SAM) WIC MIS systems: SPIRIT and MPSC. These two systems are utilized by nearly 30 of the 90 WIC programs nationwide. Although we didn’t create the systems from the ground-up, we maintain the enhancements and software updates for these programs. A WIC MIS system is responsible for capturing data related to the WIC families visit including capturing demographic data, nutritional risk data as well as assigning and issuing food packages. The issued food packages ultimately get communicated to an EBT card and then WIC purchases can be made. Being heavily involved in the WIC EBT industry, it was a natural fit to begin providing WIC MIS services as well.

One of the advantages to having electronic systems, specifically for WIC transactions, is the wealth of data available. It’s possible to track prices and trends and a variety of other things. But that information can sometimes be hard to find.

That’s why we developed Data Direct, which is the data warehouse application we offer. This system provides an extremely powerful business intelligence and reporting tool to our clients. We provide our clients with pre-defined reports that can be displayed in a variety of ways, but our customers can also create ad hoc reports. We view data visualization as one of the next key steps in forward thinking for the ever-evolving WIC and public health industries. This tool is currently provided to all our WIC EBT clients, but we will be opening it up to include WIC MIS data, as well of that of other public health programs in the future.

Along these lines, we are currently partnered with ezEMRx to bring their electronic medical record (EMR) system into the same public health sector. A natural fit!

We are excited about where we’ve been and the things we learned while getting here, and how best we can use them for the next forty years. To learn about our future plans, see Forty Years of Making a Difference: Where We’re Going.

 

Forty Years of Making a Difference: Where We’ve Been (Part I)

In honor of our fortieth anniversary in 2019, we will be posting a series of posts from our founder, Jack Marston, Sr., reflecting on where we’ve been, where we are, and where we plan to go. These will be posted on the first three Wednesdays in February.


In recognizing the fortieth anniversary of Custom Data Processing, Inc. (CDP), it’s important to understand the world in which we lived in the 1970s.

Prior to creating CDP, I spent several years selling large mainframe computers. They were big, they were bulky, and they were expensive, which limited sales to only the larger organizations who could afford the space and money.

With that in mind, CDP was born with the goal to provide computer software services to smaller organizations at affordable prices (Software as a Service, or SaaS). We started out by purchasing resource time on computers at the larger firms I had developed a relationship with as their salesperson.

As the number of clients and applications we supported grew, we were able to purchase our own computer hardware to continue expanding our SaaS activity.

The initial product that we built was related to the home healthcare sector. The goal of the project was to create an application for clinical home healthcare services which included scheduling visits to patient homes, providing healthcare services to patients, and billing for each home health clinic.

The work we were doing on that project jumped significantly when we won a contract in the public healthcare sector of Kentucky. With the successful installation of our home healthcare services at this clinic, we had a swath of new customers in the government marketplace. It didn’t take long before the home healthcare application created by CDP was used in all of Kentucky’s public health clinics.

The director of environmental health services in Kentucky had observed the successful home healthcare application and decided to contract with CDP to develop an application to house all of the establishments in the state that were being inspected in an online and real-time environment, hosted on CDP’s computer system. This application scheduled and tracked inspection activity, performed billing tasks, and printed certification documents after inspections.

Finding a niche in public healthcare, we continued our growth by creating additional systems. After all, public health entities still have employees and bills to pay, as well as billing to control. The next application we created was a public health financial system that provided employee time tracking, payroll processing, accounts payable, billing, and receivables tracking. Like the other applications, it didn’t take long before these systems and services were in use at multiple user sites. In fact, all three of these systems are still utilized today.

It was a different world in the seventies and early eighties. It didn’t take long before we realized that this was where we needed to be. Just seven years after our inception, we added more to our portfolio that would set a course for the company’s mission to serve those in the public health sector. Find out next week in Forty Years of Making a Difference: Where We Are.