Skip to main content

News and Media

Open Main MenuClose Main Menu
Oklahoma Health Care Authority and Matt Bowler

OHCA complete first evidence-based management training with Spears School

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Media Contact: Lindsey Ray | Program Manager | 405-744-8605 |

It’s a challenge that many organizations face: Are we making decisions that help us meet our goals? Are our decisions based on data or preconceived ideas? Are we missing opportunities that allow us to improve or evolve?

Early in 2021, Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA), which administers SoonerCare (Oklahoma Medicaid), decided it was time to look at its use of data and decision-making practices.

According to OHCA Manager of Strategic Improvement Kenneth Iyeh, “We are always exploring ways to optimize accessibility and quality of healthcare and to improve the health outcomes for Oklahomans.”

The agency reached out to Oklahoma State University Center for Executive and Professional Development for its workforce expertise.

Enter Matt Bowler, Ph.D., Spears School of Business MBA Director and the Brenneman Professor of Management in the Watson Graduate School. Bowler is an evidence-based management (EBM) expert.

EBM is the use of existing data and local experimental data to test and put in place innovative business practices in the workplace. Bowler explained that this evidence is created and used to avoid management fads and held beliefs that may or may not enhance an individual organization’s practices based on its unique business model and business environment.

OHCA was the first organization to enroll in the Spears School’s evidence-based management training.

“What I love about our EBM training is that we can customize it to fit the needs of every client,” Bowler said. “For OHCA, not only was it customized, but it was adjusted and tweaked as the nine-month engagement progressed. We had many feedback sessions with staff teams to address questions and manage their projects.”

Staff projects ranged from reducing call hold-times to motivating pediatric caregivers to administer dental fluoride treatments to streamlining their practitioner audit selection process using a bootstrapping technique.

These projects started as ideas that were crafted into research questions. Then, each team created their scientific experiment with an intervention followed by collecting information and data on the outcomes. From the data, teams reran the experiment or made evidence-based decisions on whether to implement the practice beyond the sample group.

Bowler said the training was successful because OHCA’s top management has bought in to having an innovative culture, which extended to staff who embraced practices of EBM.

“It was exciting and fun to work with such a motivated group of people focused on serving fellow Oklahomans," Bowler added. “I’m grateful to OHCA leadership and staff for making this a rewarding and fun experience.”

EBM training and other workforce training opportunities are coordinated by the Center for Executive and Professional Development. More information is available online at or contact or call 405-744-5208.

Back To Top
SVG directory not found.