Background: Context, Challenges, and Opportunities
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) oversees the South Carolina Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program — a nutrition program that provides health education, healthy foods, breastfeeding support, and other services free of charge to the nearly 72,000 South Carolina families who qualify. In 2018, responding to federal compliance regulations mandating all WIC agencies nationwide become Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) compliant by 2020, South Carolina WIC initiated a digital transformation program to eliminate paper vouchers for beneficiaries and introduce a new eWIC card-based system. The mandate was a valuable opportunity to implement significant systemic changes that would address numerous South Carolina WIC goals and needs, including streamlining clinic processes, enabling clinics to better leverage data to monitor program trends and vendor patterns, and improving the way beneficiaries experience and interact with the program.
For years, South Carolina had been utilizing a legacy, state-built Management Information System (MIS) that housed multiple programs, including WIC, family planning, maternal childcare, and more. The legacy system served as the backbone of the state WIC program, enabling clinics to issue paper vouchers to beneficiaries and conduct internal reporting to a limited degree. However, over time the legacy system proved burdensome and inefficient, outpaced by the rate of technological transformation that has enabled opportunities for superior service across the public sector. It lacked the validations required for the data cleanliness expected of a modern system, hampering clinics’ abilities to monitor and utilize valuable program data they needed to better serve constituents. Furthermore, as a paper-based system that was not EBT-enabled, it made internal departmental processes inefficient and costly, and caused difficulties for countless mothers forced to manually keep track of paper-based vouchers.
As the South Carolina DHEC ventured to implement the new card-based eWIC program, it knew it needed to upgrade its MIS to a more robust and effective system — one that would better enable South Carolina WIC to meet the needs of its constituency and better serve those who relied on its services. To achieve this, South Carolina WIC needed a partner that would help it develop and implement a solution fit for the 21st century. That partner was Three Sigma, a GCOM Software company.
Three Sigma MIS Implementation Process
Three Sigma, acquired in 2018 by GCOM Software, is reputed nationwide for its WIC management solutions. It partnered with South Carolina WIC to introduce a tailored MIS that would transform how the agency managed its new eWIC program. Its solution drew upon Three Sigma’s tried-andtrue experience with previous WIC MIS deployments in other states, while applying a unique and tailored approach to meet South Carolina WIC’s specific modernization needs. The new system, designed with both the WIC clinician and client in mind, has enhanced user certification and data reporting capabilities, and includes a simple centralized appointment scheduling unit that makes setting up client appointments seamless. It enables user-friendly data capture, modification and visualization — including a scroll-free interface — that allows WIC clinicians to spend more time attending to their clients’ needs rather than navigating complicated data entry tools. Furthermore, newly equipped to maintain and track program data more effectively, WIC clinicians can drive insights to better serve clients and achieve a variety of program goals, from ensuring continuity of benefits to keeping children in the system longer. Moreover, Three Sigma’s offering included a brand new app, which enables WIC beneficiaries to better track their services and benefits in a way they were never able to before. The app allows beneficiaries to schedule appointments, view their benefits balance, identify WIC clinics and stores that sell WICapproved products near them, and more, all while integrating seamlessly with the new eWIC MIS. Fundamentally, the eWIC app leverages digital engagement to meet WIC beneficiaries where they are, ensuring critical service delivery with the simplicity and ease-of-use of a mobile app. From the beginning of the new MIS implementation in April 2018 until its statewide rollout in November 2019, the Three Sigma team worked hand-in-hand with the South Carolina WIC team every step of the way to implement the new MIS in a timely and efficient manner. Prioritizing efficacy, availability, and transparency throughout the implementation process, Three Sigma delivered a transformational technological solution while demonstrating its unwavering commitment to customer success. As the implementation process drew to a close — according to Bettina Bennet, South Carolina WIC Technology Service User Manager and eWIC Project Manager — the Three Sigma team had become part-and-parcel of the extended South Carolina WIC family.
Since implementing the new eWIC program, the results have been significant — for both the eWIC managementteam and the families and individuals who have benefitted from the dramatic improvement in service quality. For the eWIC team, the new MIS has meant smoother, more efficient, and streamlined internal processes and a significantly more costeffective and environmentally- friendly system that has saved the department nearly $200,000 of taxpayer money on office overhead alone. Furthermore, it has meant substantially greater abilities to monitor and leverage program data to drive insights that enhance service delivery. And with the Three Sigma WIC app tailored specifically to the needs of South Carolina’s communities, users are now better able to navigate their benefits, identify locations of the nearest WIC clinics, track their benefits balance, and more — in both English and Spanish. Since the start of 2020, 25,000 participants have downloaded the WIC mobile app, experiencing the extensive benefits it offers. Overall, the new eWIC system has meant greater efficiency in service delivery and, consequently, a vastlysuperior experience for the end-users: South Carolina’s women and children who depend on quality WIC services every day to meet their nutritional needs.
Participant Mobile App:
A WIC Mobile App that gives participants all the information they need at their fingertips to make their shopping experience fun and enables easier interaction with the program.
- View details on upcoming appointments
- View remaining benefits and other benefit information
- Scan a UPC while shopping to see if the item is WIC approved
- Receive notifications for upcoming appointments, expiring benefits
- Access online nutrition education
- Access clinic information and locate other clinics around them
- Find out where to shop
- Access other WIC resources > Support for multiple language
GCOM has established an outstanding reputation of delivering innovative, tailored technology solutions with a focus on modernizing legacy IT systems. We combine the scale to support large complex projects with the agility and accessibility of a smaller company giving state and local leaders a third option when looking for a partner to their technology challenges. Our reputation for innovation and reliability has been earned by helping clients leverage cutting edge technology while mitigating risk. Our team collectively brings decades of successful government experience to the table. GCOM combines its experience and domain expertise with user-centric design for solutions that improve agency performance, accessibility and transparency.