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STAR System Announcement

August 4, 2014

Over this past weekend, we completed several performance upgrades to the STAR application.  Based on today’s monitoring of the application and feedback from several end-user groups, we are now experiencing improved performance. 

We are now experiencing less than a 1% failure rate due to timeout issues and application errors.  Your continued patience is appreciated while we continue to address these outstanding issues.

As part of this upgrade, you will now only see the last 3 months of “processed” messages in your message log.  Please note that messages you submit to another party will enter a “processed” status once the recipient has processed your messages. 

Now that this part of the system is functioning better, we are requesting that all providers and SCAs develop a plan on getting caught up in processing messages.  If you need assistance in understanding how best to tackle a backlog of “received” messages, please contact STAR Support at ra-daStarSupprt@pa.gov or by calling 717-783-8200.

 

August 1, 2014

Over the past few months, the increased utilization of STAR has resulted in a direct impact to the overall performance of the system.  We thank each of you for your continued patience as we diligently work to resolve the performance and functionality of this system.  Having deployed Google Analytics a few weeks ago, we have gained new insight into the application.  We are now able to tell, in real time, how many users are on the system, how quickly pages are loading, which pages are being accessed in the system, error messages that are occuring, and a host of other data points.  This tool is providing us with valuable insight which is assisting us in identifying key problem areas in the application.

 

Through this new level of analysis and our service provider’s continued support, we have identified several key areas of the site that are impacting performance.  One of the biggest areas causing performance issues is the Message Log.  While we have modified this area of the application during several upgrades starting in March, we are still actively identifying new ways to further improve the efficiency of the Message Log.  You will soon notice that “processed” messages older than 3 months will no longer be displayed under the Messages tab.  These messages will be archived in the database.  In the short-term, you will not have access to the archived messages, but we are working on ways to make them available to you in the future. 

 

Until this modification has been implemented, you may notice a delayed response when accessing the Messages tab.  We are also asking that you hold off on processing any messages, if at all possible, between 9 am and 3 pm while site utilization is at its peak.  When messages are processed during peak utilization, the system freezes which may result in other users receiving application errors and getting kicked out of the system.  This upgrade will also include several other modifications to improve performance in retrieving data from the system.  Future upgrades will focus on authorization requests and approvals, which we know are other areas that need revision. 

 

Over the past week, we have also been testing an upgrade that primarily involves reports and the upload utility.  Once this upgrade has been released, you will notice the following modifications:

 

  • Reports – All system reports, but five, will be removed from the application.  The five reports that will remain on the site are undergoing detailed testing to ensure that the reports run with accurate results.  Over the next few months, all other reports will be released back on the site as we complete detailed testing on them.  A complete report release schedule will be posted on the STAR help page in the near future.  The five reports that will remain on the site are as follows:
    • Message Log Report (on both payer and provider)
    • Active Client Listing (on payer)
    • Current Clients by Case Manager (on provider)
    • Current Clients by Program (on provider)
    • Encounters by Location Clinician (on provider)
  • Upload Utility – The upload utility is being modified to address some validation issues and to ensure that all available options in the web-based interface are accepted through the upload utility.  Specific details will be made available through an update of the STAR Treatment Data Upload Utility guide. 

 

Further details regarding these upcoming improvements will be provided as specific release dates become known.  

 

 

Contact STAR Support

We are here to assist you.  Contact us for issues you encounter in STAR, workflow challenges and questions related to the system.  We will do our best to get you an answer as quickly as possible.

Phone:  717-783-8200 (Available 8 am to 4:30 pm)

Email:  RA-DAStarSupprt@pa.gov

Be sure to provide us with the following information:

  • Your Name
  • Phone #
  • Email Address
  • Best time to reach you
  • Description of the Issue
  • Screenshots (if possible) -- Be sure to redact any client-specific information

If you are experience performance issues with STAR, please complete the STAR Performance Issues form and email it to use at RA-DAStarSupprt@pa.gov.

Tell Us How We Did

We are focused on resolving your issues as quickly as possible.  We are working on developing targeted service levels for issues reported to the STAR Helpdesk.  Please note that any issue classified as an enhancement is referred to the STAR Advisory Committee for further action.

Then tell us how we did by taking this 5-10 minute survey.

Involve Your IT Department

STAR is very browser specific and works optimally with I.E. 8.  Share this "must know" information with your IT Department to ensure that your browser settings are compatible for use with STAR.  We highly recommend that these settings be established in your organization's IT security settings.

Keep Informed of Known System Bugs and Projected Dates for Resolution

If you've encountered a bug in STAR, it is likely that other users have also encountered the same issue.  Keep informed about known issues in STAR and be sure to share with us other issues that you're encountering so that we can get those issues resolved.  Touch base periodically on projected resolution dates for known issues.

Check Out Our Frequently Asked Questions

We've posted the most Frequently Asked Questions so that these solutions are at your fingertips.  Check back as we continue to expand this area.

Obtain Training

We are pleased to announce that we are expanding our training curriculum.  In the next few months, we'll beginning rolling out training videos so that you can learn all about STAR or simply refresh your memory on a particular topic. 

Access STAR Resources

We've got a wide array of resources for your use.  Check out our Upload Utility document, report definitions and much more.

Meet the STAR Advisory Committee

The STAR Advisory Committee was formed in 2012 to prioritize enhancements for STAR.  We are currently revisiting our charter to strengthen the partnership between the SCAs, providers and Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs to continue guiding this application into the future.