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Modernization and Improvement
Update on Uniform Data System (UDS) Modernization Efforts

Update on Uniform Data System (UDS) Modernization Efforts

Hello, I am Suma Nair, with HRSA’s
Bureau of Primary Health Care. I’d like to take a few minutes to provide
an overview of our UDS Modernization Project. We are really excited about this project and
the opportunity to reduce reporting burden, improve data quality and use, and better describe
the impact of Health Center Program services and outcomes. But first, a little background – we‘ve been
collecting UDS data for over 20 years now! Since that first year, having data on the
impact of health centers has served the Health Center Program well, both with respect to
letting all of us funders and the public know well we were doing in meeting our mission,
as well as serving as the basis for our quality improvement activities. As the health center landscape and care delivery
models evolved, UDS measures and data collection has also changed to keep pace. In 2008, based on the growing focus on the
outcomes, we’ve added 6 clinical quality measures to the UDS. In 2010, we started focusing on quality improvement
infrastructure. We focused on patient centered care and data
quality through the introduction of the Patient Centered Medical Home and Electronic Health
Records initiatives. In 2016, in light of our quality improvement
and consistent with the Department of Health and Human Services focus on aligning quality
measures, 12 of our 16 Clinical Quality Measures were aligned with the Center for Medicare
and Medicaid Services electronic specifications. This allowed us to reduce reporting burden
and offer measures with more scientific rigor. In addition, we added questions to better
reflect some of the changes associated with new care delivery models such as different
types of care providers and different delivery modalities such as telehealth. We’ve come a long way… but, we are not
stopping there. Starting in 2018, almost ten years since we
started making these incremental enhancements, we are ready to make some more significant
improvements to better reflect health center care delivery, related patient outcomes and
overall impact. The UDS modernization project has two primary
elements – modernizing the UDS submission process and updating the data and information,
we collect in the UDS. Improvements to the submission process will
leverage our investments in health center health information technology and data capacity,
as well as integrate advancements in information technology and data transfer capabilities
into HRSA systems. Technology has made rapid improvements over
the last ten years and we want to bring those bear on the UDS system. The content of UDS reporting will be updated
to ensure the UDS reflects the significant improvements health centers have made delivering
team-based, patient-centered care, as well as the constantly evolving primary care and
health care delivery system. There are four components of the submission
process modernization. First we are focused on flexible submission
options that allow health centers to select a process that’s most compatible with their
operational maturity and existing IT capabilities. We will have and will continue to improve
our business operations and processes. In fact, this year we’ve released our reporting
guidance – the proposed changes to the UDS, the final changes and the UDS Manual earlier
than ever before. In addition, we have shared changes document,
validation rules and our measure specifications all on our website to facilitate reporting. We would like to continually improve our training
and technical assistance efforts, so we encourage you to provide feedback on today’s session
as well as any other support you need for UDS reporting. Finally, we are improving our governance processes
so we can more routinely get your feedback on opportunities to improve the UDS. A little more on your opportunity to provide
feedback on the UDS. We are going to create a system that allows
for you to provide feedback all year long, via our website and we’ll regularly review
and incorporate this feedback into our annual UDS update process. The goal of the process is to – Increase stakeholder
input, Get comprehensive feedback on the impact of the proposed changes and stakeholder input
and then finally ensure that all of the changes and the rationale for the changes are clearly
communicated to all of our stakeholders. In September we initiated the Performance
Data Collection Environment, a new functionality that is available to health centers to access
the reporting modules earlier than January first. The environment allows health centers to enter
and validate any available or even partial year data for 2017 UDS reporting before the
“official” reporting window opens on January 1st, 2018. This action is optional, and health centers
may choose to enter their data into the traditional EHB reporting period. This new functionality is probably especially
useful to those of you who are new reporters or those who have had challenges with reporting
in the past. Also, health center teams may find this tool especially
helpful as it allows for more time for the teams to work together in developing and refining
the data necessary for official submission. Now, shifting gears to the content part of
the modernization. Our efforts here begin with a comprehensive
review of how primary care is being defined, measured and evaluated across various
health systems and programs. After that comprehensive review we decided
to take a transformational approach to our UDS Content Modernization. We wanted to better leverage Electronic Health
Record extraction capabilities and better support data standardization so that we can
facilitate health information exchange. We also wanted to increase analytic capacity
while decreasing reporting burden. We hope that a complete reconstruction of
the UDS will allow us to address the gaps and better tell the entire health center story. We’re looking to collect data on distinct
patient sub-populations, we want to follow them across different delivery models of care
to understand the outcomes associated with different provider types indifferent care
models. You are critical to the success of UDS modernization. So far we have received really enthusiastic
support from our health center colleagues across the country and we want to keep the
momentum and dialogue going as we move forward with our modernization efforts. You can prepare for the upcoming changes by
keeping an eye on the health center program’s UDS Modernization Landing Page where updates
and resources will be posted. Thank you for all that you do for underserved
communities and vulnerable populations across the country.

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