Hitting a home run with Business Intelligence and Analytics

BI, Analytics, long term care, decision-making

I’m a sports fan. Yep. No doubt about it. Spring means not only hay fever, but baseball fever. I love to see a good solid swing and to feel the excitement of watching the gravity-defying flight of the ball as it soars over the outfield fence and into the bleachers. There’s nothing like a home run! Unlike baseball, however, the game of Long Term Care is not seasonal and if providers want a sporting chance, they’re going to have to step up to the plate and respond swiftly and powerfully to the curve balls of regulatory changes, the sliders of reimbursement, the change-ups of market pressures, and the fast balls of competition year around. It means split-second decision-making and lightning-fast responses. More to the point, providers must interpret real-time data, employ sound decision-making best practices, and implement solutions. The key? Business Intelligence (BI) and Analytics.

I’ve done some research on the topic of problem solving and Business Intelligence. During my search through the slurry of blogs, articles, and advertisements, I discovered a real nugget I want to share with you. In a blog published in Visual Business Intelligence, posted by Stephen Few points out that today’s problems are not “the result of missing or hidden information, but the result, in a sense, of too much information and the complicated challenge of understanding it.” Amen to that. Look at the plethora of data available through the MDS, for example, and the information it yields. What about the data demands providers will face when they have to play in the big leagues of ACOs (Accountable Care Organizations)? Clinical, operational, financial, market demands, regulatory data will all need to be assimilated, retrieved, interpreted correctly, acted on, and represented.

Mr. Few argues that “we don’t need more data, we need the means to make sense of what we have.” This requires “data sense-making tools that are needed to put data to use for decision-making.”

I agree with Mr. Few that “the pieces have finally come together that are needed to cross the threshold from the Information Age, which has produced great mounds of mostly unused information, to the Analytics Age, when we’ll finally learn how to understand it and use it to make better informed, evidence-based decisions.” To paraphrase, LTC providers must be investigators at heart with minds that are flexible and analytical. We must be critical thinkers.

With the aid of “data sense-making” digital dashboards which display such Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) as census, labor, collections, MDS, procurement, admissions/discharges, among others in real time, providers can discover “faults in (their) organization’s policies, practices, or assumptions.”

Armed with such analytics tools, providers can hit the home runs which will not only increase revenues and save money, but provide resident/patient quality of life.

Next time, I’ll share how one operator of multiple facilities in several states has leveraged analytics to score big. How’s that for a “pitch?”