June 16, 2017 |

How Senior Care Providers Use Data to Improve Senior Outcomes

For any type of organization, data is the holy grail of elevating services and improving outcomes—but the senior care industry is behind the curve. The good news is that leaves a lot of room for improvement and opportunity. When you start using data to make informed decisions, you can begin to tie efforts to outcomes and make smarter business choices. To get there you need effective data management and well-defined key indicators. In other words, you need to know what specific outcomes would indicate you are achieving your mission, and then define those outcomes with data. Then it’s time to analyze how you’re doing today and where you need improvement.

#1 Gain a deeper understanding of senior needs

Your caregivers can probably tell you a lot about each senior in their care—what they like to eat, what they like help with and what they prefer to do alone, what they like to watch on TV and their music preferences, and of course much about how they’re doing physically and mentally. However, to create a true picture of health and wellbeing, you need objective input. You need data.

Effective data management can create a much deeper understanding of a senior’s needs. Individual data tracks whether you are meeting specific needs and helps identify concerning trends. Summary-level data helps identify where your organization needs improvement. Are you seeing an increase in the number of seniors with a particular need or condition? Are you staffed to adequately serve those seniors? With a more complete understanding of each senior and your organization, you can make smarter decisions that are more likely to achieve desired outcomes.

#2 Enable safety and independence with risk mitigating actions

Perhaps a risk can be defined as anything that may get in the way of achieving desired outcomes. With data you can pinpoint a risk before it becomes a problem. Senior care providers want to deter hospitalizations and help seniors live as safely and independently as possible. Predictive data analytics help prevent accidents, illnesses, and hospitalizations for seniors. Caregivers may not notice gradual changes in one direction, but data will tell the story.

Once a risk is identified and mitigating actions taken, data allows you to track the impact of those actions to determine if the risk has lessened or changes are still needed.

#3 Offer personalized care plans and services

Through data, you can provide personalized recommendations and services that are truly designed to meet each senior’s specific needs. Each senior has a unique  set ofconditions and concerns and requires a personalized plan for care. You may do well at providing the right services up front, but senior needs change over time. Data allows you to stay up-to-date and more easily notice a misalignment between needs and services.

As mentioned earlier, this type of data-driven approach requires clear definition of key indicators. What are each of these personalized plans aimed to achieve? What is considered a successful senior outcome? With well-defined measures, it’s easy to create a baseline for each one so you know where you’re starting and where you want to get. After implementing changes, you’ll know what changed and by how much. Armed with this much valuable information, it’s much easier to design customized plans and make changes as needed.

#4 Track progress for Quality of Life and specific outcomes

Once you have key indicators in place, you can track them for improvement over time and identify whether you are meeting desired outcomes. For example, SeniorGrowth offers a data management platform with six standardized measures for Quality of Life: Mental Wellness, Physical Wellbeing, Eating & Nutrition, Home & Environment, Activity & Purpose, and Family & Friends. These six measures contribute to an overall Quality of Life score. These same six indicators are used for assessing needs and tracking outcomes.

With these types of key indicators, you can track progress for specific areas (e.g., Eating & Nutrition) and know where to focus improvements. You can also track overall Quality of Life scores over time as a larger measure of whether you are achieving your mission.

SeniorGrowth is a technology provider that helps senior care organizations use data to improve senior outcomes. We invite you to try our platform with a free 14-day trial and see for yourself how data can help you provide the best possible Quality of Life and independence for seniors in your care.

Do you have something to say about using data to better achieve desired outcomes? Tweet us @SeniorGrowth with #DataInSeniorCare.