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ONC, HRSA modernize UDS reporting with HL7 FHIR

As part of a joint ONC and HRSA initiative, health centers are using HL7 FHIR standards to streamline UDS reporting and improve data accuracy to inform quality initiatives.

ONC and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) have launched HL7 FHIR API standards to streamline Uniform Data System (UDS) reporting for health centers.

The HRSA Health Center Program funds nearly 1,400 health centers nationwide that deliver accessible, high-quality and cost-effective primary care to underserved communities.

Health centers use the UDS to report on a core set of measures that evaluate the program's operations and performance. Reporting for UDS involves various processes, including chart audits, data extracts and data aggregation in multiple formats.

Many health centers find UDS reporting time-consuming and burdensome. Recognizing this, ONC and HRSA collaborated to create the UDS+ FHIR Implementation Guide (USD+ FHIR IG).

The UDS+ project began in August 2022 as part of the USCDI+ initiative, which aims to support program-specific datasets that will operate as extensions to the existing United States Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) standard.

In April 2024, HRSA began receiving FHIR-enabled UDS de-identified patient-level submissions. HRSA has received UDS+ submissions from an initial group of HRSA-funded health centers representing 2.2 million patients nationwide.

The initiative marks one of the first real-world implementations using the HL7 FHIR Bulk Data Access standard as part of a federal program.

Steven Posnack, ONC deputy national coordinator, and Jim Macrae, HRSA associate administrator for primary health care, emphasized the role of federal collaboration in improving UDS reporting in a joint blog post.

"This milestone is a shining example of HHS agencies working together to align and coordinate health IT-related activities to ensure that federal agencies and their partners operate as efficiently and cohesively as possible," they wrote.

Modernizing HRSA's reporting technology is set to provide a more complete picture of health center patients' needs to better target initiatives to improve health outcomes and reduce disparities. Additionally, the standards aim to reduce reporting burdens for health center grantees.

Hannah Nelson has been covering news related to health information technology and health data interoperability since 2020.

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