Hello from Boston! I can hardly believe we are entering March and will soon be headed to the NACHC P&I Conference in Washington DC. As we exit UDS season, I wanted to take a moment to reflects on my observations.
I hope this year’s filing was easier than last year’s and you felt more confident than ever about your submission. While after seven years at Azara, I have come to expect the beehive-like buzz in our office this time of year, I remain in awe of the sheer volume of work that gets completed by the Azara team between December 1 and the February 15th filing deadline.
For Azara, a company that specializes in data reporting and analytics (including UDS), this period is by far, our busiest time of year. The amount of questions and support requests increases almost four-fold over normal volume. Tempers – of both our clients and our staff – sometimes flare, and we dedicated extra staff and hours to ensure all our clients are served in a timely manner. We also try to use the late nights as reasons to order in dinner and facilitate enhanced teamwork and comradery.
As with last year, I didn’t sense the widespread panic, the last minute madness, or the caffeine-fueled craziness that we experienced in our earlier years. Plenty of clients needed assistance, had questions or needed something fixed, but something felt distinctly different. As I wondered why I did what anyone who runs a reporting and analytics company might do: I sought answers in the data. First, I confirmed it was busier than ever. Our team closed over 700 UDS related support tickets in the 2 months preceding Feb 15th, almost quadruple our normal volumes. To give this some perspective, I looked more closely at our support logs and ticket volumes. I discovered that our UDS ticket volume more than doubled year over year, which coincides with our over 50% percent increase in live clients.
These numbers tell me that we (Azara and our clients) are making progress. Our clients are getting a better handle on their data, following their UDS numbers throughout the year and they are doing a better job of incorporating data into their everyday health center operations.
I often tell Azara clients and prospects: “Those who use their data the most have the best data.” I feel UDS Season is akin to the annual achievement test of this mantra; while I can’t state empirically that this year’s achievement scores rose for all our clients, I’m confident the average increased again.
Clients that use their DRVS data (or any reporting tool) as part of their daily routine are typically well prepared to report UDS, and they find minimal discrepancies with their numbers and performance. This isn’t surprising because they’ve been viewing data and reports regularly throughout the year – some reports daily. By doing so, these clients can identify data discrepancies early – whether process or product related – and can make fixes well in advance of UDS submission deadlines. In fact, clients that use Azara’s Patient Visit Planning (PVP) report as part of their care planning and delivery are in a much better position than those who don’t, because the DRVS data is already part of their daily workflow.
Data quality and fidelity require ongoing vigilance. All care providers must properly and promptly document the care they deliver so that they can receive proper credit for their work. Just as a salesperson keeps score by tallying up total sales, providers who regularly monitor their performance know where they stand long before year’s end. They also know – early in the year – if adjustments in processes are needed to improve the full year’s outcomes.
Congratulations to those of you who finished your UDS submission with less effort, pain and angst than last year. Take comfort in knowing your year-round hard work has paid off. And, for everyone, it’s not too early to think about next year’s UDS. Look at your data early and often. Make it part of your workflow. Ask your network, PCA or Azara for help.
Also, a number of Azara staff will be in Washington, DC at the NACHC P&I meeting from Tuesday, March 13th thru Friday, March 16th. Please feel free to reach out if you would like to schedule a meeting or discussion with us.