Modifying data submissions: A Q&A with Kristine Browning and Heather Hickland

Modifying data submissions: A Q&A with Kristine Browning and Heather Hickland

The new data tools provide an easy way to review data for accuracy, so members can correct forms before final submission.

Transplant centers, organ procurement organizations, and histocompatibility laboratories can now access new data tools to assist them in managing and monitoring the quality of their Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network data submitted in TIEDI®.

These tools were developed to assist transplant professionals with meeting new requirements under the revisions to OPTN Policy 18: Data Submissions Requirements, which includes a data lock provision to make any changes to any of the eight TIEDI forms.

Once the changes to policy are implemented, data in the forms will be locked upon the data submission deadline. The deadlines for form submission are being extended by 30 or 60 days, depending on the form. You can access the new tools in the UNetSM data services portal.

Recently Kristine Browning, senior director, Quality & Regulatory Compliance at LifeGift in Houston, Texas; and Heather Hickland, director, Quality & Regulatory Compliance at Live On Nebraska, answered a few questions about the implementation of new tools for managing data submissions. Responses from Browning, who had previously worked at a transplant center, are from an OPO and transplant center perspective, while Hickland’s responses are from an OPO viewpoint.

OPO & transplant center viewpoint

Kristine Browning, LifeGift in Houston, Texas

Kristine Browning

Senior director, Quality & Regulatory Compliance at LifeGift in Houston, Texas

OPO viewpoint

Heather Hickland, Live On Nebraska

Heather Hickland

Director, Quality & Regulatory Compliance at Live On Nebraska

How is the implementation of the “Data Lock” on TIEDI forms going to impact data entry processes at your institution?

Kristine Browning: The implementation of the Data Lock on transplant center TIEDI forms will require changes in our process to incorporate checks and balances, to ensure forms are completed timely and in enough time for validation of discrepancies before the lockdown.

Heather Hickland: The data lock will allow our organization to maintain stronger data integrity and prevent unintentional discrepancies in the information we rely upon.

What do you see as the biggest challenge?

Kristine Browning: The biggest challenge for transplant centers is leveraging the resources to have dedicated roles to be successful. Patient care trumps paperwork. Issues may arise if the data entry responsibility are on transplant coordinators.

Having the option to unlock the forms after the Data Lock will be helpful and I hope that we won’t have to utilize it that often. And then being able to utilize the tools also will provide that ability for us to streamline the process as we work through it and get more comfortable with the process.

Heather Hickland: I don’t foresee many challenges. While the system will be secure it won’t be completely inaccessible and the extended deadline will allow for accurate data review prior to validation.

How are you planning to incorporate each of the two new tools into your TIEDI data entry processes?

Kristine Browning: The Data Lock preview reports — the Excel spreadsheets — will be essential to ensure we have captured accurate data. Moving away from the twice a year, April and October, SRTR data integrity file that causes a month of chaos for our entire team, will be refreshing and ensure that data is accurate in real-time. Having the elements that include all TIEDI fields of discrepancy and not just the PSR fields for SRTR reporting will be helpful. More so that we’re ensuring we have clean and accurate data that can be utilized for many different components.

Overall, the preview reports are going to be incredibly helpful. The way they’re set up, how we could use them, provided in Excel file, is very easy to put them into different platforms. Incorporating this tool into the workflow would include having an auditor, someone who did not initially complete the form, monitoring, validating, and correcting the discrepancies in a timeline that will meet the deadline before the lockdown.

Heather Hickland: The dashboard will be a helpful feature in maintaining a continuous high level view of our data entry compliance. The weekly report is a terrific addition. This will allow us to update our internal processes and complete them more quickly and with fewer steps.

Which tool or tool feature are you most excited about and how will it help you?

Kristine Browning: I’m excited about both tools. I can’t pick. Having a real-time opportunity for correction is phenomenal. I’m very excited about that. And I know there was some data reports provided before that were just on the SRTR, PSR fields, but now having all of the data fields is excellent. It gives us a lot more information about what’s really happening and where we might have some pitfalls. The dashboard summary data provides us with the ability to identify our highest areas of error. So both tools are very effective, and I’m looking forward to having both of them available.

Heather Hickland: The weekly report has enough data for us to take action without being overwhelming. In particular I appreciate the Form Status field which allows us to see which cases are already validated but might have concerns versus which are pending with the associated fields we can address prior to validation. This option will allow our OPO to use this report both for a retrospective compliance audit as well as a to prepare the data prior to submission.

If you could share one piece of advice on successfully navigating the “Data Lock,” what would it be?

Kristine Browning: Participation in the training that the OPTN offers is critical and incorporate the utilization of these tools in day-to-day processes to reduce the concern for the Data Lock. These are great tools that give us information on data that has not been summarized or provided in the dashboard format before. It’s very exciting to have national comparable data and be able to really have a good idea of what’s happening with our data.

Heather Hickland: Both the Data Lock report set and dashboard are easy to locate in the UNOS Data Services portal.


If you have questions relating to implementation, contact UNOS Customer Service at unethelpdesk@unos.org, or call 800-978-4334 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST.

For policy-related questions, contact member.questions@unos.org or call 844-395-4428.

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