We’ve talked a lot about the importance of knowing your audiences and their information needs. Our colleagues at the HIV/AIDS Bureau at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HAB/HRSA) provide training and technical assistance (TA) to Ryan White grantees and program staff about how to manage data. In response to feedback and a process to identify unmet TA needs, HAB/HSRA developed Data Academy , a series of on-demand, web-based training modules about how to collect, use and share data. We spoke to Mira Levinson, Project Director, to learn how and why they developed Data Academy. Here’s what she had to say:
Data Academy is based on feedback we received from Ryan White grantees and program staff about what kinds of support they needed to help manage, report and use their data. We used the POST strategy to figure out exactly what information would be most important to convey, and the most effective way for grantees to access the information.
We talked to data managers and administrative staff from more than 100 Ryan White-funded programs, asking about their current data activities, data management systems, utilization of existing HAB-related TA, and their unmet data needs. We learned that many of the grantees had used at least one component of data-related TA in the past (which can include on-site consultations, training seminars, webcasts, TA guides, and conference calls). However despite this access, 90% of all grantees identified at least one current data-related TA need.
Excellent resources on data reporting, using program data and fundamentals on quality improvement were already available through the Ryan White TARGET website and the National Quality Center , so we focused on helping grantees collect data, and understand and improve their data systems.
Essential Data Steps: A Self-Assessment
- Simplify Your Data Collection
- Getting Data from Existing Sources
- Fundamentals of Data Quality
- Building Data Partnerships with Staff and Contractors
- HIPAA and Data Sharing
- Ensuring the Security of Your Clients’ Data
The whole idea of Data Academy is based on an understanding that not everyone starts off as a “data person.” For example, many people accept clinical or administrative jobs, and then find that they are responsible for data reporting too. Our role in developing these training modules has been to help people who are already working with data to some extent, so that they can improve their skills on an ongoing basis. The modules focus on taking a look at existing ways of doing things, and making reasonable improvements so that the work gets more efficient – and the data end up more accurate, complete and secure. Our strategy was to develop trainings that people could access on their own schedules, and at no cost to them. We wanted people to be able to use Data Academy as part of group training sessions, ongoing individual skills development, and for training new staff. We modeled our approach after the success of the National Quality Center’s Quality Academy.
In the end we determined that online training would the best option. For one thing, we knew it would be important for this material to be available on-demand. On-site trainings by nature take place only once – or only periodically – and with staff turnover and other resource constraints people need to be able to access information when they need it, and when they have time. Also, we already knew from our needs assessment that data managers had access to the internet, were comfortable accessing web-based information.
Besides training and TA, HAB/HRSA is using new media to promote the upcoming 2010 Ryan White Grantee Meeting & 13th Annual Clinical Conference , August 23-26, 2010 in Washington, DC. The conference "will focus on identifying strategies that have been developed over the past 20 years of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program to improve systems of HIV/AIDS care and increase grantee knowledge of program and fiscal requirements under the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009." To attend the conference and find out more information, visit the conference website , Twitter , and Vimeo pages.