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Azara 2020 Virtual User Conference Recap

Wow! What a week it was for the Azara team. Our 4th Annual DRVS User Conference is in the books, and once again our team delivered an amazing experience. While we are disappointed that we were not unable to host everyone in Boston and spend quality one on one time, I think we were able to get a high level of engagement and interactivity throughout the three days of the conference, albeit of a virtual nature.

We continue to be humbled by the support and backing of our fiercely passionate users and we are proud of the assistance we provide in helping our Health Center clients make a difference in the care they deliver.

Tuesday, September 20 – Day 1

I kicked off the first session by welcoming everyone. Being virtual does have a few advantages, and at the top of the list is the ability to make the DRVS User Conference accessible for many more people. We had over 500 DRVS Users representing more than 300 Health Centers from 31 different states, across 5 different time zones attend the virtual conference. As I got the conference underway, I felt it important to emphasize that while we were disappointed about substituting a virtual event for a real, in-person one, I recognize the Azara User Conference is not the most important issue facing any of us at this time.

I took a moment to acknowledge what a challenging year 2020 has been for everyone and applauded our health center clients for their hard work and dedication in handling the pandemic, for their creativity in shifting quickly to telehealth, and for finding innovative ways to serve the needs of their patients and keep the lights on within their clinics though the early days of uncertainty. I also spoke of the more recent efforts we have seen to “make up for lost time” by re-engaging patients for catch-up on preventative visits as well as the re-initiation of care for those with chronic conditions.

I spoke about how our clients stand on the frontlines in the fight for racial and social justice and that Azara stands with them and will continue to support their efforts with the qualitative metrics necessary to call attention to these inequities and the actionable data required to assist in addressing them.

As we got rolling, I challenged our attendees to use their time to learn from the Azara presentations and their peers and in the absence of person to person networking, use the content to dialogue with colleagues within their individual health centers. After a quick tour down memory lane, I provided some updated Azara statistics and recognized all of our clients who received HRSA Quality Awards this year.

I also emphasized that Azara success is a function of our clients’ success and proceeded to highlight some of the great results achieved by Azara clients in the last year.

Pressed for time to keep things on schedule, I did a fast review of the analytics marketplace and the key drivers of data reporting and then emphasized Azara’s commitments to its clients and partners.

  • Remain focused on serving health centers and safety-net providers
  • Support our clients and their patients through the pandemic
  • Meet the needs for entering risk and value-based payment arrangements
  • Ongoing investment in product, infrastructure and client success services
  • Listen to and incorporate your feedback
  • Build partnerships that enhance our capabilities to meet your needs
  • Be your partner for the long haul
  • Enable DRVS to make a difference in the care you deliver to your patients!

Following the opening session, Janette Keddy from Azara’s client success team led a discussion around using DRVS in a crisis where Cheryl Gildner from the Missouri Primary Care Association, Kimberly Warden from Hamilton Community Health (MI), and Dr. Diane Ferran from the Community Healthcare Association of New York State described the different ways they utilized DRVS as the pandemic unfolded. Each presenter had a unique perspective on how they handled the transition to telehealth, the need to identify patients at high risk for COVID complications, various requests to quantify visit volume changes and racial disparities, as well as working to support their health centers and patients.

We closed day with Greg Wozniak from the American Medical Association and LuAnn Kimker from Azara’s Client Success team reviewing an AMA program for aggressively managing Hypertension and how DRVS helped play a key role in overseeing the project.

Wednesday, September 21– Day 2

We opened Wednesday’s session with three great Poster presentations by:

Isabel Odean: Care For the Homeless (NY)
Carolina Maradiaga-Esguerra: LA Christian Health Centers (CA)
Marissa Avila: North Country HealthCare (AZ)

During the next session, I provided an overview of Health Information Exchange (HIE) and how DRVS is working with a variety of HIEs around the country. We then heard Angela Boyer from the Indiana Primary Care Association talk about her journey in bringing together the Indiana Health Information Exchange (IHIE) and her member FQHC’s. Angela was followed by Aurelia Bradley of Circle the City in Phoenix, AZ and Ren Noorda from North Country Family HealthCare (AZ) who each talked about how they utilize HIE data within DRVS to manage transitions of care and improve the quality of patient care at their respective health centers. Following their presentations, we had a lively 20 minutes of Q&A.

Heather Budd facilitated Wednesday’s second session which featured Molly Totman and Johanna Lopez from Caring Health Center in Springfield, MA talking about the challenges they overcame in transitioning their health center to a Data-Driven Population Health and quality program.

We tied up Wednesday’s sessions with a bit of an experiment to see if we could create small, intimate, subject-based virtual networking groups. For those that took part, I think the experience was positive, and we took away a number of learnings that we can apply as we continue to compensate for our inability to gather in person.

Thursday, September 21 – Day 3

We kicked off Thursday’s agenda with a session focused on strategies for improving childhood immunization rates, which featured the new DRVS Immunization Report. Emily Holzman from the Azara Client Success team facilitated a presentations and discussion between Kalyan Gogineni and Pat Beatty from Samuel Rodgers Health Center (MO) along with Nicole Rees and Caitlyn Hagarty from Family Health Center (MO).

Thursday’s second session featured an overview of some of the Value Based Care functionality in DRVS and how it is being used. Greg Augustine, Phil Parker and LuAnn Kimker from Azara each presented on certain aspects of using DRVS in Value Based Care arrangements. Rob Pazdan from the Michigan Primary Care Association, Kelly Niileksela from Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center (MI), and Alayna Gomes from Hamakua Health (HI) each provided their perspective on how they were using this functionality in the context of their payer contracts.

As we headed down the home stretch, Greg Augustine quickly reviewed some of the major functionality additions from the last 6-12 months and then took a moment to highlight the areas where clients should expect new development and DRVS features in the coming months. In summary: too much functionality, too little time.

Following the Product Update, I presented some special client awards and played the videos that had been submitted in our 2020 Video Contest. Check them out on our website here.

Once again, some really fun and creative productions. Both Fordland Clinic (our defending champion from Missouri) and the Indiana Quality Improvement Network/Indiana Primary Care Association received one full conference pass each for next year’s Azara User Conference.

As we came to the end, I said I was not optimistic that we would be able to hold an in-person event in 2021, but we would keep our options open and communicate our plans as they come together. Lastly, I acknowledged and thanked all of our client and staff presenters and the five key people without whom the conference would have never come together: Kristen Jones, LuAnn Kimker, Colleen McIntyre, Molly Wack and Heather Budd.

Great Week! For those who joined us or participated, thank you. For those who missed it, all sessions were recorded and are available in the Help Section of Azara DRVS.