Education and Business Technology Funding 2017

IT Governance Request for Proposals on Teaching & Learning and Business Technology

Shared Education Data Solution

Primary Author: Lynda Jacobsen
Proposal Status: 

1.       Project Overview & Benefits

Currently, the Schools of Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy manage student data through multiple systems and manual processes, which leads to inefficiency, inaccuracy and limitations with both monitoring and reporting.  Schools are in need of better ways to manage student data in order to meet the demands of new degrees programs, curriculum redesign, student progression tracking, programmatic assessment, accreditation mandates and reporting requirements.  To meet these shared needs, the Schools have moved out of our silos into unprecedented collaboration in order to solve a common problem in service of our Education mission. The Shared Education Data Solution (SEDS) will build upon the system the School of Medicine has been using since 2007, consolidating, standardizing and streamlining the gathering, synthesis and dissemination of student data. Leveraging the existing solution in the School of Medicine propels the other three Schools into a modern education environment.

The main benefits of leveraging the School of Medicine system are based on using a shared software platform to address our immediate needs. Anticipated benefits of implementing new student education data solution include:

  • Promoting a culture evidence through easily accessible access to education data
  • Fostering data driven decision-making and informed planning
  • Increased communication across the Schools
  • Improved user experience in tracking and monitoring student academic progression
  • A shared platform to foster technological standardization for all schools
  • Centralized tool to enable program monitoring and reporting
  • Access to reliable, consistent and secure data
  • Improve data integration and consistency
  • Economy of scales as a shared infrastructure to be more cost effective in the long term support and maintenance of the system
  • Interim solution to allow smoother migration to a planned joint long-term solution for data centralization among all four schools.

In order to better understand our shared needs, the Schools invested in a Discovery and Analysis project. In December 2016, the School of Medicine Dean’s Office, Information Services Unit (ISU) led a Gap Analysis evaluating the schools needs against the currently deployed MedSIS application.  The analysis shows that the School of Medicine application, MedSIS, meets most of the Schools’ needs and that the schools have more common needs than school-specific needs. See attached report.

The SEDs project business goals include the following:

  • Make interim student education data solution available to address immediate needs of Schools to maintain student data that to the extends into programs
  • Standardize data format and improve data integrity and accuracy for the three Schools
  • Improve faculty members and staff experience to access student contact and program information
  • Shared common platform among Schools that improves visibility and consistency across programs for needs at schools and university level. 
  • Allow users to see the ‘Big Picture’ and create reports in continuous student improvement

The SEDS project objectives include the achievement of the following:

  • Leverage existing MedSIS used by SOM as interim solution to meet the immediate needs of three Schools of retaining student education data for tracking and progressing.
  • Reduce data redundancy, gaps in functionality, licensing, security, SLAs between the schools and ITS or among the schools
  • Integrate data from Registrar SIS for data consistency and accuracy across Schools
  • Transition  from decentralized approach to a centralized student data solution to allow smoother migration to a long-term solution for single student education data solution among all four Schools

The SEDS project approach leverages internal subject matter experts in combination with an external software development vendor.  As a technical partner, the vendor will utilize the existing MedSIS application, developed, hosted and maintained by ISU for the School of Medicine as the basis of further development, implementing additional functionality specific to the Schools of Dentistry, Pharmacy and Nursing.   

2.       Positions UCSF as a Leader and Innovator in Health Professions Education

While UCSF Professional Schools individually offer world class education, the campus as a whole is lacking infrastructure to provide excellence in education administration. Likewise, we suffer from missed opportunities to position excellence in health professions teaching and learning. Building on the work of the Educational Technologies Ecosystem project, this project is a foundational step which allows the Schools to move to a common platform for both analyzing and reporting on student data.  

The Ecosystem project provided the Schools with a clear picture of the current landscape of the technology supporting education as well as gaps in data management. Empowered with knowledge to act as custodians of our education data, a coordinated solution aligning the Schools with an existing solution is proposed. While alternate approaches to meet individual school needs were explored, a shared infrastructure and the ability to better position us for future technologies held the most value for our teaching and learning mission. With this foundation in place, we can truly begin to operate as an Education enterprise, addressing common good opportunities such as an Education Data Warehouse, business intelligence tools and other education tools under review by the Ecosystem Committee.  With a Shared Education Data Solution, the Schools can more readily partner with the campus committees to define standard operating procedures and protocols for implementing emerging technologies as well models for shared governance.  Greater equity among the Schools in terms of access to tools and education data provides a platform for future strategic visioning and planning.  Finally, a shared education data solution allows for tools to better monitor and support student academic progress, promoting greater student success in an increasingly interdisciplinary health professions education environment.

3.       Addresses Critical Operational Need for Health Professions Education

With a common platform for education data, the Professional Schools can both modernize our processes and engage in shared strategic efforts. By surfacing our commonalities, we make visible common opportunities for solutions and advancement. Essential in the process of modernizing our administration is this first step toward improving the access and transparency of school specific education data.

4.       Financial Impact

The SEDS project provides a shared campus-level integrated technological solution for health professions education. Shared tools provide efficiencies which reduce duplication and allow for economies of scale. Cost saving opportunities include possible centralized services, reduction of FTE and improved product quality. Financial impacts will continue to improve with the continued realization of an Education enterprise infrastructure that allows for discipline specific customizations while maximizing commonalities. Sharing resources strengthens our individual efforts.

In addition, a shared platform reduces administrative costs and enables the schools to direct more resources to teaching and learning. It likewise advances an effective and efficient education data management environment, while instilling a deepened culture of continued improvement that leads to high quality performance and outcomes. With a shared platform we have an opportunity for greater coordination and greater collaboration which leads to increased creativity and problem-solving.  Cost savings are anticipated through a reduction in paper, reeducation in errors, increased productivity as staff effort is more closely aligned with the education mission.

5.       Compliance & Regulatory Benefit

As Professional Schools we experience increasing and ongoing accountability burdens from external agencies. Accrediting bodies require reporting at regular intervals and at levels our day-to-day operations are not prepared to provide. In addition our current UCSF education ecosystem is highly distributed. With multiple systems and limited integration, Schools are burdened by data management and required reporting. A Shared Education Data Solution alleviates some of the compliance burden by consolidating our mission critical data. Having our education data into one place likewise allows for internal review and analysis, which is essential for continuous quality improvement.

6.       Matching Funds

The Dean of each School is sponsoring and supporting the success of this project with both in-kind and direct financial support.  We kindly ask for 50% matching funds ($244,286) from ITGC Roadmap funds in order to support this critical project.  Please see the financial sheet for budget details.

7.       Ongoing Operations and Maintenance

Migrating from one software system to another will require change management support. This project will include a Change Management Plan to help stakeholders with the transition to new student education data solution. On-going production support will be identified over the course of project and MOU will be developed. Sustaining the change efforts will be enabled through a comprehensive plan including training, communication, business process improvement and policy refinement.  Each school is in the process of identifying staff members to fill the critical business role of system and data analyst.



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I applaud this effort to reconcile a need for all of the campus' professional schools. This proposal's approach to consolidating and standardizing the collection and efficient retrieval/dissemination of data will specifically target the schools of nursing, pharmacy and dentistry and allow for better alignment with what is already demonstrated in the school of medicine. This has the potential to substantially enhance our collaborative efforts through effective management of and consistently improved security with data.

Is there a financial estimate for completing this work available?

Hi Annette - thanks for your comments. Pharmacy has enjoyed partnering on this project!

This represents an excellent example of a collaborative solution to meet similar needs across organizational units at UCSF;  it will build upon existing tecnology utilized successfully in the School of Medicine, create a shared option for three of UCSF's schools and utilize a new model for handling the system modifications for use across our programs.

Effective data management is increasingly important for operational efficiencies as well as to meet the exapnding requirements for accountablity and assessment that arise from the acrediting agencies for educational programs.

I am in full support of this proposal and the opportunities it represents.

MedSIS has been a vital tool and platform in medical education to support student success for more than a decade. This project is a great example of our educational programs leveraging and building off demonstrated and proven technologies and will not only support the schools success but also creates a new shared toolset to propel the entire UCSF education community forward.

A truly collaborative education program needs collaborative infrastructure, and this project aims to achieve that.  This is a great example of our schools will use an approach that is both evidence-based and innovative to improve data management and utilization.

This is a foundational piece as SOP,SOD, and SON build a more robust educational ecosphere. The fact that all three schools have agreed and are willing to fund a common application, and that exisiting technology from SOM is being leveraged is something we rarely see at UCSF.  We usually want to build our own wheel, but in this case we are taking a new wheel, adding some spokes and then we are on our merry way. The other thing I like about this application is that the financial plan for sustainability seems very solid. 

I agree with all of the positive comments on this thus far. This is a winning plan to be developed by key professionals to ensure a robust resource that works for all of the schools involved. A big step forward in sophistication over what we have been using that carries us further toward a vision that has been around for quite a while but now proposes an appropriate infrastructure to make it a reality.

I echo the comments submitted so far. This initiative clearly facilitates the evolution of assessment and evaluation efforts both within each school's respective professional programs and the larger university community.

This exciting and collaborative project between the different professional schools has my full support for all of the reasons described within the proposal.  

MedSIS has been an essential tool and has created major effeciencies by bringing this data together.  This leverages and build son existing technoilogies and is a great success story.  I whole heartly support this.

As mentioned in the proposal, this project directly pertains to the recommendations of the Educational Technology Ecosystem Project. As mentioned within the proposal and by many commentors, the project embodies the essence of the Ecosystem recommendations by proposing a collaborative approach to meet a shared need across our schools. More specifically, the Ecosystem project articulated several recommendations regarding Data Flow and Data Integrations, which the SEDS directly helps to address. Those recommendations are:

  • DF2: Develop a data governance policy and structure that reduces the possibility of errors by establishing sources of canonical data and building tighter integrations between systems. As an example, many schools and programs maintain student information that duplicates and sometimes goes beyond what is stored in the Registrar’s SIS system.
  • DF3: Take advantage of the curriculum revision projects currently underway to standardize course naming conventions – and definitions for what constitutes a course - across schools and programs. This has the potential to assist with integrations with the SIS system in the Registrar’s office and well as facilitate automation in course creation within the Moodle LMS. The standardization would be beneficial even for those schools or programs not using the Bridges curriculum. Initial conversations have been held on this topic between members of the Educational Technology Ecosystem Steering Committee.

Hi Gail - thanks for your comments. The Ecoystem Project helped guide the development of this project and we are looking forward to continued partnership. 

This is an exciting collaborative opportunity and I am in full support of this.


As an experiential education coordinator, I know a better source of transparent and accesible student information would allow us to better schedule student experiential education experiences by taking into account their experiences and prior rotations.

I think this proposal addresses needs in all three schools that will support the educational missions. Our schools and our students will directly benefit from this. It seems like an opportunity that we would not want to miss. I absolutely support this proposal.

I continue to be inspired by the leadership, partnership, creativity and vision of each of the schools at UCSF which have all made a sustained and powerful contribution to our collective campus.  This proposal elucidates a powerful collaboration amongst our four professional schools resulting in an expansive platform to more efficiently manage and utilize our educational data, which persists as a rapidly evolving arena.  As Chair of the School of Pharmacy Educational Policy Committee (EPC) and a member of the UCSF Campus Committee on Educational Policy (CEP), the SEDS, as detailed above, would facilitate programmatic evaluation for all schools from an accreditation lens as well as arm key faculty and staff with vital information that could be used to enhance a student’s educational experience while at UCSF.

Building upon the existing and successful MedSIS architecture within our IT infrastructure demonstrates an ideal solution for our immediate needs across SOD, SON, and SOP.

I fully support this technological innovation addressing our educational data demands and look forward to the prospects it provides to all of us on the UCSF campus devoted to the educational experiences of our students.

I fully support this intent and the goal of the project.   I would like to see the total project funding estimate details;  the ongoing support cost, support model including the goverance of defects and enhancements prioritization.  

It is inspiring to see so much thoughtful effort go into creating much-needed infrastructure to improve and streamline systems for educational excellence.  This group has clearly done a robust needs assessment, stated specific objectives, and outlined an implementation plan. 

The technology infrastructure being proposed for the schools parallels a lot of the advances we have already seen in the healthcare delivery system for patients receiving care at UCSF Health.  It is far overdue in achieving the educational missions of the institution.

I would like to see a sentence or two added in regards to programmatic evaluation.  In 12 months, how will we know we've achieved success?  At what frequency will schools collaborate to continue to learn from each other, update the technology, and set new goals?

This is the key foundation and missing block that will make our schools better. The data will flow freely and no more tracking using Excel.  I’m looking forward to be part of it.

This is a great opportunity for all schools to work on a single project that has significant impact (via data mining) on curriculum, courses, and even strategic planning development. I am in full support for this project. After listening to the project presentation, I would like to hear how this data will be used as signle group as well as individual school.  

This project will go a long way to provide the infrastructure we need to make data-informed decisions at the Schools of Pharmacy, Nursing, and Dentistry. SOP's OEIS receives frequent data requests that cannot be easily be fulfilled with our current programs and tools--with the current Curriculum Transformation, the need for centralized storage and access to essential programmatic data is greater than ever.

This project will have numerous immediate positive impacts across numerous departments. Existing but previously inaccessible data can now be tracked. Current tedious ad-hoc reporting can be expedited--improved efficiencies will allow for employees to do higher-order work. Ultimately, this system also has huge potential for improving Student Outcomes.

By starting with a system that was developed by SOM, this project builds on an investment already made by UCSF. This approach also has some important value-added benefits to the University. As a collaborative effort between multiple schools, the required coordination around building and continued maintenance will contribute to the building of a shared governance model for education technology. This also will provide lessons-learned for working with HCL on an education-related project.

Excellent proposal for a much needed solution. Exciting to see interprofessional collaboration to accomplish shared goals. Well done.

Once again, UCSF sets the pace, demonstrating interprofessional collaboration at the structural level. The committee invested meaningful effort into identifying common needs and proposing efficient coordination of resources where school-specific requirements do not require separate approaches.

I would like to follow up on Sophia Saeed's comment above. While the scope of the project is specifically IT infrastructure, addressing our educational data demands, successful outcomes achieved by this effort should be considered as we look at other common versus school-specific technological and infomatic needs.

The shared investment by all three schools with both in-kind and direct financial support from the deans is evidence that this project has the commitment, sponsorship and support to be a successful investment.

For those of us who teach across professional schools anything that can be done to increase efficiency and share the resources is a GREAT idea. Thank you for the effort!!!

A shared educational software platform will increase efficiencies and promote collaboration between the schools at UCSF.  I fully support this proposal and appreciate the efforts of this group to advance health professionals education.

I am in full support of this incredible effort as it not only serves to address a tremendous need around coordinated systems and technologies that all of the schools have, but it models how as a campus we can work collaboratively to create solutions!  I applaud the efforts of the staff and faculty who are shepherding the project and I believe that the outcomes of this project will make our operations and business processes related to collecting and managing  “data” more robust, clear, and efficient.  Thank you all!!

I am excited and am in support of this interprofessional collaboration leading to a streamlined efficient process. Thank you for your efforts!

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