Posted By Ashok Mathur On January 26, 2015
How can a federal move to new Family Planning Annual Report FPAR 2.0 and a federal mandate to move to a certified EHR help? Family planning clinics can now simplify reporting, improve workflow and increase efficiency. Here is how you can take advantage of these changes and take your organization to the next level.
Many of you are familiar with the importance and challenges of Family Planning Annual Reports (FPAR). Challenges or not, annual FPAR submission is required of all Title X family planning services grantees by the Office of Population Affairs (OPA). Timely and accurate reporting is key to continue to get all important family planning grant $s.
In a nutshell, the OPA uses FPAR reports to monitor compliance, comply with accountability for Title X family planning federal funds, help with strategic and financial planning, and to respond to inquiries from policymakers and Congress. But, the challenges of reporting are huge for local health departments. Each local health department has to report to various agencies (or grantees) using numerous software systems. For example, each local health department has to use some sort of family planning software tool, another software for HIV, another software system for immunization etc. Since the data is entered in different systems, local health departments do not get a comprehensive view of the patient as the data is in numerous systems. What is worse is that getting clinic reports is a very pain staking task. No matter how much manual effort one spends, data is never accurate or up to date.
Well, things about to change. These two changes can make all this simpler for local health departments and family planning clinics.
- Family Planning Annual Report FPAR 2.0: The OPA is in the process of defining FPAR 2.0 which is expected to be rolled out in 2017…..you know 2017 is not that far. So get ready. To make it better, OPA has developed a new Family Planning (FP) Profile to standardize all data fields and codes for Title X family planning services. Leading EHR software companies, focused on family planning, are developing new form filler software – aligning with the new FP Profile – and will participate in Integration of Healthcare Enterprise’s (IHE) 2015 Connectathon event to test interoperability capabilities of their software. In their blog, OPA described the importance of vendor participation as “the vision for an encounter-level FPAR 2.0 takes shape, it is critical to test the FP Profile with multiple EHR vendors to catch any glitches before it is rolled out to the network”. The Connectathon testing platform will take place January 23-27th in Cleveland, OH.
- Electronic Health Record EHR software: Realizing that local health departments are dealing with various (federal or grant) driven silos, modern public health EHR companies are making it easier for local health departments. Modern, cloud and apps based EHRs, allow local health department users to enter data once and it automatically ends up in the right system. For example, users at local health departments enter the family planning encounter note in the EHR only. The EHR generates the needed FPAR and sends it to appropriate receiver e.g. state. No separate family planning software is required to enter the data. Simple. Similarly, immunization data is entered only once in the EHR and it is sent to state immunization registry. Now the local health department has a complete view of the patient (as it is entered only once in the EHR), no duplicate data entry and the reporting process becomes simple. Of course, this whole exchange of data is vastly simplified by the federal mandate for meaningful use. Meaningful Use has defined the standards which allow local health departments to connect with immunization registries, syndromic surveillance systems and upcoming cancer registries.
Family Planning clinics and local health departments can make their lives much easier by moving to a federally certified EHR with built-in FPAR 2.0 reporting.