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The Importance of Standard Data Capture: Insights from a Pilot Study

Having taken early advantage of federal and state grant funding opportunities for health information technology (HIT) and innovation, the Missouri Primary Care Association (MPCA) is on the forefront of a wave of clinical initiatives that support chronic and preventive care improvement using a data system that provides both population-level analysis and the ability to provide individualized care coordination.

In 2007, the MPCA was awarded $5 million in state HIT funding that was used to begin work on a data repository and to help its 21 member health centers acquire electronic health record systems (EHRs) according to Susan Wilson, chief operating officer. Another $1 million ARRA grant for HIT innovation enabled the health centers to connect to Azara DRVS, the selected data warehouse and reporting system for the Missouri Quality Improvement Network (MOQuIN) within MPCA’s Missouri Center for Health Care Quality. In addition, MPCA recently received a $1.5 million grant of PPACA funding through HRSA to continue to develop the data warehouse and reporting system and to leverage its data to improve quality measures over 3 years.

Ms. Wilson reports that DRVS is currently used by Missouri’s health centers, all of which are members of MOQuIN, to support care coordination and quality measures reporting for several initiatives including the CMS Advanced Primary Care Practice demonstration, a state-funded Chronic Disease Collaborative, and the Missouri Primary Care Health Home Initiative, a Medicaid state plan amendment that supports health home services for high-cost chronically ill Medicaid enrollees. Missouri’s health centers also use measures and reports from Azara DRVS to support patient-centered medical home recognition.

“Data capture and validation have been the biggest challenges,” says Wilson, “in addition to working with several different EHRs.”

Wilson joined the MPCA in September 2008, bringing 20 years of experience as CEO at Northwest Health Services, a multi-site, multi-specialty Community Health Center (FQHC) serving northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas. Ms. Wilson, who holds a masters degree in business administration, is active with the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), currently serving as first vice-chair of the Health Center Controlled Networks Task Force. She was also a member of the inaugural class of the University of California-Los Angeles and Johnson & Johnson Health Care Executive Program.

“Until health care reimbursement is truly reformed, return on investment for primary care providers remains elusive,” Wilson said in an interview with the Azara Community. “However, we believe investing in data systems will result in better care for patients and equip health centers well for the future.” MPCA expects to see improvements in patient health status as well as monetary savings to the care-delivery system.