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Beating the Odds:
Ohio’s Data-Driven Journey to Statewide Health Transformation

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The Client

With an unwavering commitment to ensuring access to high-quality and affordable health care to all Ohioans, the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers (OACHC) champions the growth and development of Ohio Community Health Centers as they serve nearly 1 million of the state’s most vulnerable. 

As the statewide not-for-profit association representing all 59 of the state’s Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) and FQHC Look-Alikes, OACHC has played a pivotal role in spearheading population health improvements in Ohio since 1984.

OACHC’s member health centers operate across nearly 550 locations, in 76 of Ohio’s 88 counties and serve as a vital lifeline for individuals in need of essential health services, irrespective of their financial capacity. In medically underserved areas throughout the state, Community Health Centers stand as the only source of care for the uninsured and those dependent on Medicaid. 

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Supporting 3.8 million patient encounters annually, OACHC member health centers are steadfast providers of medical, behavioral, vision, dental and nutrition services, serving as a pivotal public health response in Ohio’s most vulnerable communities.

The Initiative

Driven by a commitment to serve Ohio’s underserved and uninsured populations, OACHC embarked on a transformative initiative to bring about measurable statewide improvements in quality care. Faced with the state’s consistently low performance on vital Underserved, Insured, and Disparities (UID) measures, OACHC was determined to transform its network into a data-driven ecosystem that would elevate the state’s agility ranking, support value-based care reimbursement models and enhance the health and well-being of Community Health Centers’ diverse populations.

To empower its Community Health Centers with actionable insights to address health equity and close gaps in care, the statewide data initiative sought to:

  • Establish a data-sharing platform to share clinical, operational, financial and plan data with OACHC and participating health centers in Ohio, providing valuable benchmarks for performance comparison.
  • Enable data-driven insights and meaningful comparisons across the state’s health centers to drive improvements across UID and Uniform Data Systems (UDS) measures.
  • Provide real-time performance information across all membership to assist in the identification of best practices, trends, and opportunities for improvement.
  • Increase the engagement of Ohio Community Health Centers by fostering collaboration and driving overall performance enhancements across the state. 
  • The ambitious data project required a visionary partner capable of establishing a sophisticated data infrastructure to effectively manage populations, ease the burden of data reporting and visualization, foster network expansion and guide value-based performance strategies.

The Solution

Recognizing an acute need for a robust population health management partner, OACHC selected Azara Healthcare to establish a comprehensive data reporting and analytics population health and value-based care solution for redefining measures and interventions across Ohio.

In May of 2018, OACHC and Azara Healthcare proudly unveiled the Ohio Data Integration Platform (ODIP), an all-encompassing statewide data reporting and analytics platform built on Azara Healthcare’s Best in KLAS Data Reporting and Analytics Solution (DRVS). With the transformative capabilities of Azara’s award-winning tools, OACHC could see their data-driven future within reach.

For OACHC and its network of Community Health Centers, navigating the complex landscape of regulatory compliance was also a paramount concern. The initiative recognized this burden and embraced the opportunity to streamline reporting processes for UDS measures, Meaningful Use, PCMH, and more. Moreover, the initiative placed emphasis on leveraging social drivers of health (SDOH) data to tackle underlying health-related social needs impacting patient health.

ODIP

The Results

ResultsImplementation of the ODIP platform, powered by data from Azara DRVS, has proven to be a pivotal turning point in the pursuit of compassionate, high-quality care for the people of Ohio. From 2020-2022, diligent efforts using data-driven insights resulted in substantial improvements in preventive measures and chronic disease management.

The initiative also enabled OACHC to identify areas that required additional attention. For example, the data revealed a decline in childhood immunizations by 20.35%. When care managers looked closer, OACHC realized this disparity was influenced by the lack of universal vaccination programs in the state.

“As we dove deeper into the data, we not only witnessed actionable improvements in our reporting but also uncovered a deeper purpose. This transformative tool has enabled us to not only identify areas that demand attention, but also advocate for regulatory enhancements. The power of the platform goes beyond numbers; it serves as a catalyst for supporting underserved communities across Ohio.”
- Ashley Ballard | Chief Quality Officer, OACHC

In 2018 they had 53% of the statewide UDS measures in bottom two quartiles, equally distributed between the 3rd and 4th quartile. This improved to having 62% in the top two quartiles in 2022.

In 2022, Ohio’s Community Health Centers achieved a total of six measures in the top 10 rankings and outperformed the national level in five key metrics, becoming a leader in national health excellence.

OACHC Progress

Success included:

Quality Measure Ranking by Quartile1. Depression Screening and Follow-up
Secured the 7th position, outperforming the national average by 8.94% reflecting Ohio’s dedication to mental health care.

2. Tobacco Usage and Cessation Intervention
Secured the 6th position, outperforming the national average by 4.39%.

3. Adult Weight Screening & Follow-up
Secured the 10th position, outperforming the national average by 10.93%, reinforcing Ohio’s focus on preventive care.

4. Aspirin Therapy
Secured the 11th position, outperforming the national average by 4.5%.

5. Hypertension Patients with Controlled BP
Ohio ranked 11th, outperforming the national average of 3.08%.

Through proactive measures and a commitment to continuous improvement, Ohio is paving the way for healthier communities and a brighter future for all its residents.

“Our partnership with Azara Healthcare and the implementation of Azara DRVS has been nothing short of transformative. The level of data intelligence provided by Azara has allowed us to focus on population health management like never before, and the improvements we’ve witnessed are a testament to the power of data-driven decision-making in healthcare.”
- Julie DiRossi-King | President and CEO, OACHC

Ohio's Vision for a Brighter Future

Building upon the transformative successes of the Ohio Data Integration Platform, utilizing Azara DRVS, OACHC is committed to addressing emerging challenges and embracing novel opportunities in the healthcare landscape. 

Also recognizing the critical issue of employee burnout, Ohio’s healthcare ecosystem is poised to usher in a new era of support and well-being for its healthcare professionals. Through strategic interventions and data-informed insights which streamline processes and maximize efficiencies, OACHC aims to create an environment where healthcare providers can thrive, ensuring their physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing remains a top priority.

“Our data journey with Azara has exceeded expectations. Our focus on preventive care and key healthcare metrics has led to remarkable improvements in patient outcomes. The ability to identify trends, stratify risk, and target interventions has been instrumental in our success. Azara’s platform is intuitive, comprehensive, and unmatched in its capabilities. It has empowered us to drive quality improvements and make a real difference in the lives of our patients.”
- Jessica Ball, RHIA, CHPI | Health Center Controlled Network (HCCN) Director, OACHC

Moreover, OACHC’s healthcare vision extends to a focus on behavioral health measures. By harnessing the power of data analytics, the state aims to unearth nuanced behavioral health insights for timely interventions and comprehensive care plan management. 

With each measure and milestone achieved, OACHC marches resolutely toward a future where quality care is accessible to every Ohioan, and the vision of equitable healthcare becomes a data-driven reality.

Begin your transformation today!

Learn how Azara DRVS can support your organization by exploring resources available in the DRVS Help section, contacting your client success manager, or emailing solutions@azarahealthcare.com.