Freqently Asked Questions
The process of connecting an EHR system to a central data warehouse is much more than technology. In fact, the core technology connection to the database is relatively straightforward and very repeatable. It is Steps 2-4 of the implementation process that requires significant human effort and accounts for the bulk of the time and cost associated with a successful DRVS implementation. Our team spends that time learning how you use your EHR, and configuring our system to fit your workflows so you get the maximum credit for the care you deliver. Our implementation team understands that there are multiple legitimate ways to document care and they work very hard to “meet you where you are” vs requiring your to use your EHR’s prescribed workflow.
The data collected and stored by Azara is owned and controlled by the patient, provider and health center. Azara is the custodian of your data and takes stringent measures to assure your data is securely stored and protected. Azara does not share your data unless you authorize access. In addition, you have the ability to specify which elements of your data can be viewed by the various entities and roles within organizations you choose to grant access. The Azara DRVS platform can be extended to supply “bulk” data to other entities, such as immunization registries, local, state or national programs and in some cases, act as an on-ramp for a regional, state or national Health Information Exchange (HIE).
Azara utilizes a Tier 1 data center owned and managed by Microsoft Azure located in Virginia. Our servers reside in a fully secure, backed-up, and highly available production environment, configured to require user authentication, authorization and encryption for end user access, back end operations, and all data transfers. Our configuration is set to abide by all HIPAA regulations and the facilities are PCI DSS compliant, ISO 9001 certified for physical security and management, and audited yearly for SSAE16 compliance.
Azara employs a range of network and software controls to secure access to its production environment and application and all access and activity within both the operational environment and the DRVS application is logged and available for audit purposes.
In addition, Azara maintains an extensive set of documented Security Policies and Procedures regarding our employees, physical office space, electronic and information security and, of course, our production environments. Subject to HIPAA, Azara maintains business associate relationships with all organizations that provide PHI to Azara and any service providers that interact with our environments. We also conduct penetration testing at regular intervals. Azara has been certified HITRUST compliant.
Actually, the storage of data within any commercial grade data center is significantly more robust than typical, on-premise health center data storage. First, and foremost, our data center has a high degree of physical security, much greater than that of a typical health center or physicians’ practice. In contrast to a health center, the data center has only a small number of employees who work at and oversee the center. Each of these employees is individually cleared for access and are monitored.
From an internet storage perspective, the word “cloud” itself implies that your precious assets are out there floating around somewhere, right? It’s an understandable reaction, but one that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, the cloud is now the safest place for your data to reside.
Think about this: Data is lost when an organization loses control over it, including how it’s stored, how it’s transmitted, and what end users do with it. Think USB drives. Clouds, and the technologies on which they run, give you back that centralized control, from data center to delivery to endpoint. There are only one or two paths of access, each which is monitored, encrypted, authenticated and authorized.
All Azara DRVS reporting and analytics functionality is available via a secure web browser connection to the application. DRVS supports access using most current web browsers and two-factor authentication is available for those clients desiring to add an extra level of access control.
Actually, there are differences. While a SaaS model is a hosted model, a SaaS model encompasses much, much more. Typically, a hosted solution model refers to the outsourcing of the supply of computing hardware, some base level software, networking infrastructure and the physical premises in which these reside. The client tends to own responsibility for both supplying and supporting the actual software application running on the servers. In addition, each hosted solution is usually designed to service a single client.
Azara DRVS is a true SaaS application platform. In addition to the lower level hardware and software items mentioned above, Azara supplies and maintains the DRVS Reporting and Analytics software situated on those servers, taking full responsibility for the ongoing development of the platform’s functionality (upgrades, new reports and analytics), as well as assuring the environment is maintained and will remain safe and secure. Each client benefits from the addition of functionality requests and development on behalf of others and does not end up with a system unique to them, but rather a robust platform that encompasses best practices from within the Community Health marketplace. In addition, because all clients are using a common set of application functionality, Azara is able to provide true application level support, answering more than just technical question, but specifically, how to optimize the reporting and analytics functionality. In the SaaS model, clients typically pay an all-inclusive, annual subscription fee.
Like any build vs. buy decision, there are many factors to consider including time to market, cost, in-house expertise, time and focus of the organization and its leadership, the ability to maintain the systems and the long-term cost, support and resource implications of owning a system.
Azara DRVS delivers value from day one and our customers take advantage of DRVS’s 8+ year history and evolution. Azara’s also provides deep experience from working with multiple PCAs, HCCN’s and CHCs and incorporates industry best practices and packages the DRVS solution in a form that requires minimal upfront capital. DRVS has been validated for production stability and its subscription model provides long-term sustainability for both the platform and its users.
The advantage of a custom system is that it’s built to conform to an organization’s processes and not require adherence to alternatives. Besides the monetary cost of building and operating a custom system, one must take into consideration the need for requirements gathering and client input to document the desired process. Custom systems also require significant resources for on-going maintenance. Federal and other program measurement definitions change frequently, and keeping up to date with these regulatory changes constantly requires business analysis skills as well as technical capacity.
The most labor intensive parts of the process revolves around connecting to individual EHR databases and then validating that the data Azara DRVS is pulling out is correct. To make the early part of the connection phase proceed smoothly, customers should have proper access credentials to each relevant data source, a resource who understands your specific network, your EHR system, the data and associated workflow and some documentation of the system and its data format. While we have the ability to analyze the current state of the system and derive the key information ourselves, client preparation and cooperation will put us on the path to exceeding expectations and potentially saving on start-up costs.
Azara Healthcare was formed in 2011 as a cooperative venture with the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers (MLCHC) to bring to market the analytics intellectual property that had been developed for the Massachusetts health centers starting in 2007 to primary care providers nationwide.
Azara was established to provide a single purpose entity to expand, deploy and operate the DRVS platform for the Community Health marketplace. Leveraging the knowledge and experience of our staff, partners and clients, Azara has expanded its reach from the initial nine Massachusetts CHC’s to deployment at over 250 health centers across 25 states.
Yes! Azara DRVS allows comparisons between providers, sites, and centers, with the data visible in either explicit – West End, Greenway Acres or generic format (Site 1, Site 2) – depending on your configuration and security preferences. It is our experience that using as much explicit information as possible increases transparency, introduces healthy competiveness, and drives overall improvement at a faster rate. We also understand that this does not work in all environments, and therefore DRVS is built to accommodate the blinding of necessary data.
There is no additional charge. Reports necessary to meet changes in all UDS Clinical Quality reporting requirements are included as part of your subscription. Azara Healthcare will evaluate requests to create additional reports and determine whether they will be included or not.
Note: Reports requiring new or additional data elements may require modifications to current data connectors to collect the necessary data elements.
DRVS has product features that are part of the base package but may not be “turned on” for your location. Azara’s Client Success and Support Teams will help you determine your needs and requirements to use all of the available features.
DRVS also has three modules that can be added on to your DRVS instance. Risk Management, Payer Integration, and the Controlled Substance modules are a separate, additional costs and require additional implementation support.
Because the DRVS application is delivered using a SaaS model, the only thing a client needs to access DRVS reporting is an internet connected machine with a currently updated web browser. No servers or IT infrastructure is necessary. To facilitate data transfer to the Azara DRVS database, Azara will need to co-locate the data connector code on or near the EHR database, whether on-premise or hosted.
Currently, there are 250 Community Health Centers across 25 states working with Azara DRVS.
DRVS is licensed on an organizational basis (PCA, IPA, HCCN, CHC or clinic) and priced based on the number of patient medical encounters the entity records in a given time period. Within the licensed entity, all staff members are entitled to use the DRVS system and its reports. We encourage our clients to grant widespread access as a way of highlighting both successes and areas needing improvement and enabling an environment where the process of quality improvement is transparent and available to everyone.
We use the UDS definition of encounter, which is a billable, face-to-face medical interaction with a provider. Based on the types of data currently being reported by DRVS, we do not count dental or behavioral health encounters in the billing metrics.
Yes, the system is designed to allow PCA or network level branding, so that as these entities deliver Azara DRVS to their clients, it looks and feels like it has been built and operated by that entity. Azara Healthcare will work with the client to incorporate branding as part of the setup and deployment process.
Azara has DRVS User Groups in a number of states where there is a large concentration of users, usually in conjunction with the efforts of a PCA or HCCN. We expect additional groups to form as we expand our geographic footprint and work closely with clients to foster idea sharing, collaboration and best practices. In addition, Azara holds an annual User’s Conference. The 2019 User Conference is scheduled for May of 2019.
Azara produces monthly webinars on the latest DRVS enhancements, updated reporting, and new features and modules. All webinars are for DRVS-users only and are easily accessible in the DRVS Help section. We also host an annual user conference where DRVS users come together for workshops, idea sharing, and networking. See our customer success stories for more insights on how DRVS is helping to impact care, improve quality, and lower costs.