Maine, Tennessee Share Hospital Data After AHRQ Workshop
Two workshops featuring HCUPnet offered as part of AHRQ's Knowledge Transfer Quality Diagnostic Tools for States project helped encourage both Maine and Tennessee to share their data publicly through HCUPnet (http://hcupnet.ahrq.gov).
In December 2007, representatives from Maine attended the AHRQ Knowledge Transfer Program's "State Healthcare Quality Improvement Workshop." This workshop featured several AHRQ products and tools to diagnose quality issues and improve quality of care.
The Maine participants were impressed by the various capabilities of the HCUPnet tool. After the workshop, they urged Al Prysunka, Executive Director of the Maine Health Data Organization, to share data in HCUPnet.
Prysunka, who also serves on the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) Advisory Committee at AHRQ, notes that several participants from the December 2007 workshop called him to discuss sharing Maine's data as a result of the HCUPnet presentations and information gained at the meeting. Upon deciding to share Maine's data, Prysunka says that "the relationship between AHRQ and Maine is quite positive. AHRQ has a staff that does a lot of analytical and methodological work that is wonderful."
In December 2008, another AHRQ workshop was influential in encouraging Tennessee's participation in HCUPnet. Tennessee officials attended a technical assistance meeting, "Using Administrative Data to Answer State Policy Questions," which focused on several AHRQ tools—including HCUP and HCUPnet—that support a State's analysis of administrative data. Attendees included staff from the Tennessee Hospital Association, which holds the State contract to collect hospital discharge data, as well as the Tennessee Department of Health, which regulates the collection of data. The workshop's short application was created to encourage States to set objectives for the meeting.
The workshop included a live demonstration of HCUPnet by HCUP staff. The demonstration impressed the Tennessee delegation and convinced its members that the State's information should be included in the online tool.
Brooks Daverman, Health Quality Analyst, Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration's Division of Health Planning, notes, "After the presentation, our delegation decided independently that Tennessee's data should be on HCUPnet, and we agreed upon our return to Nashville to seek the necessary approvals from our various groups. Those approvals were quickly obtained, and we were able to instruct AHRQ to put Tennessee's information on the AHRQ Web site soon after."
Tennessee has continued to increase the amount of data the State shares in HCUP, recently adding emergency room data.