This project confirmed what we already knew﹘collecting accurate data for the birth control methods fields requires a team effort that includes IT staff, clinicians, health educators, and administrators who can support any systems level-changes that might be needed. Now that we have better data, we'll be able to better showcase the great work that our subrecipients have been doing!
Christina Farmer, Director, Title X Family Planning Program, Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health
Primary birth control method data captured in the Family Planning Annual Report (FPAR) can be used to monitor compliance with statutory regulations, conduct quality improvement activities, and estimate the health benefits and cost savings of a family planning project.
In early 2019, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), Division of Public Health Title X project requested technical assistance (TA) from the FPNTC to decrease the number of clients with “unknown” listed as the primary birth control method in DHSS’s FPAR data. DHSS and FPNTC staff coordinated with three subrecipient agencies to improve data quality in the primary birth control method field. Each agency completed a short survey about its current electronic health record (EHR) capabilities and processes and then met with DHSS and FPNTC staff to discuss the survey results. Each agency also created individualized Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA)-based improvement plans and submitted monthly updates and birth control data to DHSS for three months.
By the end of the project, the agencies’ average of “unknown” female birth control methods dropped from 35% to less than 1%. Agency staff attributed this significant improvement to the PDSA plans, staff training, ensuring that data were pulled from the correct EHR field, and reporting only those visits that covered family planning and reproductive health services.