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Clinical Content Enhancement Toolkit


Project Initiation and Planning

When initiating a project for data enhancement, organizations wishing to add clinical elements to their administrative databases have to recruit stakeholders by building a strong business case for the project, developing a plan for data collection and management (including the identification of appropriate resources both in terms of staff as well as technology and external vendors), educating staff about the project, and obtaining the necessary data sharing agreements with project partners.

To ensure the success of efforts to enhance hospital discharge databases with clinical data, there needs to be organizational buy-in from hospital leadership, specifically regarding data collection efforts. Implementing new data collection systems or modifying current ones takes time and resources, and requires a strong commitment from hospital leaders to moving the process forward in the face of competing priorities. Recruiting hospitals to participate can therefore pose many challenges.

Establishing and communicating a strong business case or benefit for the hospitals can be helpful in recruiting hospitals to participate, particularly when participation is voluntary and not legally mandated. Healthcare organizations may be reluctant to invest in initiatives that involve large start-up costs, and which do not appear to have an ongoing revenue stream. For organizations involved in the development of such databases, costs include those related to collecting, cleaning, and hosting the data, mapping laboratory and other data to existing administrative data, as well as technology and staffing resources required to collect and process the data.

Some of the ways in which organizations implementing such projects can mitigate costs include charging fees to private organizations such as healthcare purchasers, health plans, or researchers to access providers’ proprietary databases, or charging fees for generating custom reports. Fees from stakeholders interested in utilizing clinically enhanced databases may help offset program costs and make it more attractive to participate in data enhancement efforts.

Planning and Recruitment Tools
Lab/Pharmacy Data Sign up and Commitment Letter (PDF file, 58 KB; HTML)
Cover letter introducing the Hospital Commitment Form. (Developed by the Minnesota grantee)

Hospital Commitment Form (PDF file, 47 KB; HTML)
Mechanism for interested hospitals to sign up to participate in a data enhancement project. (Developed by the Minnesota grantee)

Enhancing Hawaii Hospital Information Content: Hospital Engagement (PDF file, 919 KB; HTML)
Document that details the grantee’s process for securing hospital participation and communication strategies, and includes examples of letters of support, participation agreements, and presentations to educate stakeholders about the project. (Developed by the Hawaii grantee)

Next Steps to AHRQ Lab/Pharmacy Participation (PDF file, 14 KB; HTML)
Sets forth hospitals’ initial steps for project participation. (Developed by the Minnesota grantee)

MHA/AHRQ Clinically Enhanced Data Project (PDF file, 352 KB; HTML)
Flyer that provides an overview of goals of the project and benefits to hospitals’ participation. (Developed by the Minnesota grantee)

Deliverables for Participating Hospitals (PDF file, 11 KB; HTML)
List of the customized outputs from the MHA/AHRQ project that will benefit participating hospitals. (Developed by the Minnesota grantee)

Frequently Asked Questions for Coronary Procedures Project (PDF file, 296 KB; HTML)
Provides answers to questions asked by administrative staff tasked with carrying out new protocols. Preparing this type of document in advance of project initiation can help hospital leadership think through their plans and, distributed as a handout, can relieve common concerns of hospital staff. (Developed by the New York grantee)

Contact Information for Submission of Clinical Laboratory Data (PDF file, 276 KB; HTML)
Form for recording specific staff responsible for listed laboratory data submission roles and responsibilities. (Developed by the New York grantee)

Incorporation of Laboratory Results into Statewide Hospital Data (PDF file, 1.1 MB; HTML)
Overview of the HI grantee's project. (Developed by the Hawaii grantee)

Summary report of AHRQ-funded HCUP Partner Pilot Projects, conducted from 2007-2009 to add laboratory data and Present-on-Admission data to statewide hospital administrative data.


Internet Citation: Clinical Content Enhancement Toolkit. Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). October 2014. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
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Last modified 10/7/14