May 31, 2017 |

How Senior Care Providers Can Use Data to Solve Their Biggest Problems

What are the biggest problems you face as a senior care provider? Do any of these sound familiar?

  1. We can’t find and retain enough high-quality staff to meet increasing demand.
  2. We want to expand service offerings to enable aging-in-place without breaking the bank.
  3. We need to provide personalized care, but that gets expensive.
  4. We need to keep our network of providers informed, but the administrative tasks get overwhelming.
  5. We want to provide self-management options for families, but we don’t know how to get there while maintaining our core operations.

Are your top challenges on this list? Each of these and more can be addressed systematically by using data as the basis of your decision-making. Data analysis does not need to be a scary black box, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money to start using it effectively. You can use data to make your problems less complicated by making it the foundation of your problem-solving.

When you make the most of data available to you, you can (1) better understand the problem, (2) create data-driven solutions, and (3) monitor and prove impact as you make improvements.

Simplify the problem

Let’s look at one of our example challenges.

We want to expand service offerings to enable aging-in-place without breaking the bank.

Stated this way, this problem may seem overwhelming. Which service offerings enable aging-in-place? How do we know where to start? How do we make sure any money we spend is being used smartly?

Now imagine you have a smart data solution that tracks key indicators related to a senior’s ability to age in place. Things like physical fitness, home environment, and trends in mental wellness. With this information displayed visually (something smart data tools do for you!), you could easily pinpoint which key indicators need the most attention—which ones are lowest or showing a concerning trend. Maybe the seniors in your care are lacking in physical fitness. We all know that staying in the home and remaining independent is highly dependent on our ability to stay physically fit. Now you have a problem you can get your head around.

Generate data-driven solutions

Once you have a data-defined problem, you can create data-driven solutions. In our example, we identified physical fitness as a needed area of focus to help seniors successfully age in place. So, target your expanded service offerings on physical fitness. Perhaps provide more training to your caregivers on how to encourage regular physical activity, and how to recommend physical activity appropriate for each senior.

You can also consider what other positive changes you may see. If you are implementing new caregiver training, might that also lower caregiver burden? If you’re tracking caregiver burden in a standard way (regular assessments), you can watch for added benefits from the new training. More training is likely to empower your caregivers and give them confidence in their recommendations—thus lowering stress. Make sure to identify other key areas to watch when you make a data-driven change. Our example could also impact mental wellbeing or eating and nutrition. Be aware of these areas going into the change to get the best picture of the impact after implementation.

Implement change and prove impact

Now, perhaps the most important part of using data to better achieve your mission is tracking the data after you make a change. Was it a good change? Did it improve things as much as needed to justify the cost or effort?

In our example, you can track the physical fitness indicator in the months following the new training. Let’s assume things go well and the training does its job—the senior’s physical fitness indicators go up! Imagine the impact to your organization. First, seniors are more physically fit—which goes towards your core mission. Second, you can show caregivers, family members, and anyone in the community how you made a purposeful change and it resulted in a quantifiable improvement. Caregivers will feel more job satisfaction, you and other decision-makers will feel confident in your smart decision and empowered to continue making data-driven improvements.

SeniorGrowth is a technology provider that offers a platform specifically to help you do the things outlined in this article. Our solution standardizes assessments and data gathering then makes it easy to analyze and track changes. We have a Quality of Life measurement that includes six key indicators—like physical fitness as discussed in our example. We also have a Caregiver Burden Assessment to help you track stress and job satisfaction for your caregivers.

Like you, we want seniors to have the best possible Quality of Life, the most possible independence, and the best quality of care—our mission is to enable you to achieve yours. Try our platform for free for 14 days and let us know what you think!

What are your biggest challenges that you’d like to solve with data? Tweet us @SeniorGrowth with #DataInSeniorCare.