Optimizing Health Center Data

Topic(s): Quality Improvement, Data Quality
Geographic Location: New York
Health Center: Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, Inc.
Date Posted: February 2019

Uniform Data System (UDS) Modernization Initiative

Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, Inc. (CBWCHC), a nonprofit Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) funded health center in New York, provides high quality and affordable health care to medically underserved persons, with a focus on the Asian American population. In 2017, the health center provided care to over 58,000 patients, a majority of whom were Asian American (95%) and best served in a language other than English (85%).

The health center has been on the forefront of optimizing the use of its data to improve patient health. In 2018, CBWCHC was recognized with two HRSA Quality Improvement Awards for clinical quality achievements that exceeded national standards and the performance of peer health centers. CBWCHC has used electronic medical record (EMR) systems since 2005 and has continued investing in information technology (IT) with a focus on clinical care and enterprise reporting. The health center has a robust data warehouse that it uses to contact patients that have missed appointments, monthly quality improvement meetings among clinical staff, and monitoring trends in patient health.

For example, CBWCHC was able to identify and repair a piece of screening equipment by closely looking at trends in testing results between patients at two delivery sites. Stephen Lam, the Associate Director for IT at CBWCHC, states, “We have a leadership team that is visionary and pushes for our organization to be on the cutting edge. The health center believes in providing data driven health care. In addition to the IT department at CBWCHC, there is also a Clinical Informatics Department, which works closely with clinicians to optimize the EMR and its tools.”

When the HRSA Uniform Data System (UDS) Modernization Initiative was launched in 2016, CBWCHC participated in UDS reporting enhancement pilots that are now being implemented by health centers across the Health Center Program. “We treat UDS reporting seriously,” stresses Stephen Lam, “and we wanted to provide feedback and share some of our experiences with our EMR and data warehouse.”

For the 2018 UDS reporting period, health centers have access to new offline reporting functionalities, which will reduce the time spent on data checking and validation between health centers and HRSA data reviewers while improving the data quality. Mr. Lam continues, “We spend a lot of time on data validations within our health center because without good data you can’t provide good care. The features HRSA built and we pilot tested over the summer make UDS data entry easier and reduce errors.”

HRSA continues to work on reducing burden and improving data quality. There are several resources available to help with UDS reporting and any feedback or suggestions for future improvements are welcome. To provide feedback please visit the Health Center Program Support HRSA BPHC exit disclaimer page and follow the instructions. For more information about CBWCHC and their approach to data driven health care contact Stephen Lam at 212-379-6988.

Date Last Reviewed:  February 2019