DI 30001.600 Quality Assurance Unit (QAU) Special Studies
A special study is any structured analysis of data or information collected for the purpose of providing findings to improve conditions or resolve problems. Generally, the duration and scope of a special study is limited.
B. Special studies overview
1. Importance of special studies
Special studies enable the QAU to provide management with information about specific areas in Disability Determination Services (DDS) operation that affect resources, accuracy, and processing time.
2. Objectives of special studies
The QAU undertakes special studies to:
determine the reason(s) for deficiency patterns;
determine training needs;
experiment with new methods for improving processing practices;
monitor the effect of recommended actions; and
focus on specific corrective actions to improve adjudicative, developmental, and administrative practices and conditions.
3. Indicators for special studies
Many indicators can show the need for possible special study topics. Examples of these indicators are:
errors in a particular body system or category of case, as revealed by DDSs ongoing random reviews;
unusually long processing time at specific work stations;
frequent follow-up requests for medical evidence; and,
inadequate consultative examination (CE) report content in a particular specialty.
4. Suggested special studies
SSA suggests periodically conducting these special studies:
effectiveness and appropriateness of CEs;
analysis of resolutions on cases submitted for Request for Program Consultation (RPC);
appropriateness of reexamination diaries in medical improvement expected cases;
appropriateness of case development practices;
conditions for reopening a prior decision (good cause, failure to cooperate, etc.)
processing times at various work stations (i.e., elapsed-time studies);
effectiveness of handling of high-risk cases;
effectiveness of handling of special workloads such as presumptive disability decisions, Quick Disability Determinations, Military Casualty Cases, and Compassionate Allowances;
degree of success in implementing new policies; and,
degree of success in utilizing software enhancements.
C. Studies and feedback
Present findings and conclusions from special studies to management as soon as possible after the study is completed so that recommendations can be addressed promptly.
Management should provide QAU with feedback concerning implementation of study recommendations.