MIRCal – Best Practices

Review your DDR: Compare Past and Present

Your Data Distribution Report (DDR) is a summary report that displays each data element and lists the numerical and percentage breakdown of records within each data element category, including blank and invalid data. It is a beneficial tool both during the editing process, to review prior to formal submission for unusual distribution of data, and for administrative knowledge after formal data approval. Once data has been standardized, similar summary reports are available to the public.

During your editing process, use your current and historical DDRs in conjunction with your Trend or Comparative Edit Summary Report to aid in your data review. Data Distribution Reports are found on MIRCal's Error Reports and Corrections page. Choose 'View' on the Data Distribution Report row listed under Informational Reports.

Submit Early in the Report Period

Beginning your data submission well in advance of the due date provides ample time to make data corrections and helps to minimize the worry of unforeseen data issues. For Inpatient data reporting, MIRCal is open for report submissions three months in advance of each due date. For Emergency Department data reporting and Ambulatory Surgery data reporting, MIRCal is open for report submissions 45 days in advance of each due date. Working on your data submissions early in the report period minimizes the peak wait and demand time for assistance from MIRCal analysts as each due date approaches. It is also advised to plan accordingly for the Variant Action Request (VAR) process, which may take five business days to complete. See the VAR article in Quick Notes issue 37 for further information.

Check your Warning Flags

Any flags with a "W" are Warning Non-Critical Flags. It is important to review your Warning Flags to determine if errors exist in your data in these categories. Warning flags are excluded from the Error Tolerance Level (ETL) calculation but can identify erroneous data and should be reviewed every report period. Upon Formal submission, it is assumed Warning Flags were reviewed for accuracy (Title 22, Division 7, Chapter 10, Article 8, Section 97246, subdivision (a)).

Patients Review Their Demographic Data Every Visit

Preferred Language Spoken, Race, Ethnicity, Social Security Number, Sex, Date of Birth, and ZIP Code data quality is most accurate when self-reported by the patient, and then reviewed and confirmed by patients in subsequent visits to support data quality and improve upon missing data. There may be cases where family members or care providers declare on the patient's behalf. OSHPD has developed a brochure (English | Spanish) which can be distributed to patients and that healthcare facilities may find helpful in answering patient questions about reporting their personal data.

Be Knowledgeable About How Data Is Used

Equip staff throughout your facility with knowledge on how data is used. Some Quick Notes bulletins have presented concise, accessible articles from researchers and other data users. Check out this information in issues 30 through 34 and 39. Other portions of the OSHPD website and the California Health and Human Services Open Data Portal are also excellent resources.

Consider a Goal of Correction to Zero Errors

The California data that you report is used worldwide. There are many facilities that work diligently to correct errors well below the 2% error tolerance level on a routine basis. Two Quick Notes articles have also highlighted particular data elements or MIRCal edit flags that may deserve your special attention. Issues 44 and 46 describe the OSHPD data standardization process and how choosing to leave certain flagged data uncorrected impacts the dataset.

Review the MIRCal Computer Based Training

The Computer Based Training is always available to use as a helpful tool. It can be beneficial to review the training modules to confirm your knowledge and understanding when assisting other staff with data submissions. Be sure to advise or require that contract coders take our Computer Based Training so that they are knowledgeable about various MIRCal components, functions, and access.

Excellence in Action

  • Work closely with admissions staff and keep them informed of accurate reporting and adherence to regulatory requirements.
  • Ensure training for contract coders.
  • Plan ahead for software conversions and review closely for adherence to OSHPD requirements.
Healthcare facilities around California have recommended these and other MIRCal reporting Best Practices as noted in Quick Notes issue 29.

This page was last updated on Thursday, June 29, 2017.

MIRCal Featured Pages

Information on Hospital Inpatient Discharge Data Collection.       Information on Emergency Department Data Collection      Information on Ambulatory Surgery Data Collection.


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