Preparing to Participate: General Tips

1. Create a quality improvement (QI) team and start talking about your electronic health record (EHR), data entry, and data extraction from day one. The first step for success is to form a team that’s dedicated to quality improvement. You’ll need to agree upon a shared vision about the importance of your work, garner buy-in at multiple levels, closely examine the definitions of the measures, and align the method providers use to enter data into an EHR system. This will set you up for success from the outset!

Who should be on your QI team? To be effective, you’ll need representatives from the SBHC program’s sponsor organization (e.g., SBHC administrator), SBHC provider(s), and information technology (IT) support or EHR vendor support (if available) to set up the EHR. If you’re in a state that has a state affiliate office and/or state government office that funds SBHC programs, let them know that you’ve elected to adopt and report the performance measures. They may be able to provide additional supports to your team.

For more tips on setting up a QI team, click here.

2.  Set up your EHR. Adapting your EHR to capture the data that you’ll need to report performance measures can be a challenge for SBHC programs. Don’t fret! Here are some tips that will help you navigate that process.

a. Verify that procedure/diagnosis codes are in the EHR. Entering performance measure data into an EHR allows SBHC programs to query and later extract the data. The first step is to verify that all necessary Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) and International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes are in the EHR.

View the recommended CPT and ICD codes for the performance measures here.

b. Convert text fields to discrete fields. The performance measure definitions include some data points that are generally entered as free text. You’ll want to build a process that converts notes, narratives, free-text, and comment fields to discrete fields or observational terms so you can query and tabulate your data.

Examples of text fields that should be converted to discrete fields include:

– Well-child visits provided by non-SBHC providers

– Depression follow-up plans

– Sexual activity data

c. Build customized reports and data queries. With customized reports and accurate queries, you’ll be able to extract data for analysis in Excel and other software programs. Rather than requesting a report that tabulates the performance measures, instead request data elements that are broken down into small, separate items, including all CPT and ICD codes associated with a visit. This will allow you to easily adjust your parameters as performance measures or data needs change. In addition, you should set up filters for service dates, client age ranges, and client gender so you can specify various data ranges and sub-groups.

Need a little more help? View a webinar on this topic:

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