Health Center Promising Practices

HRSA is working with health centers and other partners to build a continuous learning health system that uses data-driven quality improvement practices and shares promising practices and lessons learned. To foster peer to peer learning, HRSA gathers promising practices. A promising practice refers to an activity, procedure, approach, or policy that leads to, or is likely to lead to, improved outcomes or increased efficiency for health centers.

Promising practices come from Operational Site Visits (OSVs), through our strategic partners, and from HRSA project officers. More topics will be added to this page in the coming months. Promising practices will be added regularly, and health centers soon will have an opportunity to submit their own.


The following criteria are used to identify promising practices:

  • Practices must be innovative, beyond the routine activities health centers or partners employ.
  • Health center or partner must not have any active conditions.
  • The practice has the potential to be implemented in other health centers or through partners.
  • If possible, quantitative and/or qualitative data (e.g., UDS or health center data) are available to demonstrate the effectiveness of the practice.


Diabetes poses a unique challenge for the HRSA Health Center Program. At least one out of every seven health center patients has a diagnosis of diabetes.1 In 2017, 67% of health center patients’ blood sugar levels were reported as controlled (A1C < 9%).2 That is higher than the national average of 59%, where 1 in 10 people have diabetes. As part of HRSA’s Diabetes Quality Improvement Initiative, HRSA has committed to share promising practices as one of many strategies for improving diabetes outcomes and lowering health care costs.

The following promising practices highlight innovative programs that health centers and other partners are using to help manage diabetes among their patients.

Substance Use Disorder (SUD)

The Nation is in the midst of an unprecedented opioid epidemic. 116 people a day die from opioid-related drug overdoses. Primary care settings have increasingly become a gateway to better care for individuals with both behavioral health (including substance use) and primary care needs. HRSA supports health centers with resources, technical assistance, and training to integrate behavioral health care services into practice settings and communities. As part of HRSA’s effort to address the opioid crisis, the following promising practices highlight innovative programs that health centers and other partners are using to treat SUD.

View more SUD promising practices in the Opioid Special Edition Digest HRSA BPHC exit disclaimer.

1. 2017 Uniform Data System (UDS)
2. 2017 Uniform Data System (UDS)
3. Comprehensive Diabetes Care HRSA BPHC exit disclaimer, Medicaid-HMO 2017, National Committee for Quality Assurance

Date Last Reviewed:  April 2019