3 min read

Go with the Pros - which KPIs matter most to LTPAC providers

By Prime Care Tech Marketing on Tue, Feb 02, 2016 @ 06:50 PM

iStock_000080173269_Small.jpgYou can’t go wrong with Business Intelligence (BI). But if you are new to the game, knowing which Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are more useful to seasoned LTPAC BI Pros, those who were early adopters, may be useful. From start-ups to well-established providers, executives and managers have selected what they consider to be the most important KPIs for their operations. Let’s look.

Frontline Management’s Dean Kiklis, CFO, knows the importance of BI to multi-facility operations. In the beginning, the management team skipped the step of manually creating reports and moved right to BI to meet its aggressive information and scalability requirements for this rapidly growing company. Kiklis says, “By doing it right the first time, we won’t have to face a disruptive economic and operational challenge later on.” Focusing on census, labor and Days Sales Outstanding every Monday with daily updates throughout the week, Frontline Management is able to observe quickly the daily status of these key areas of its operation. For example, since employing primeVIEW, Days Sales Outstanding have dropped by 10 days.

Southeast-based American Healthcare, LLC operates multiple SNFS in Virginia. To remain competitive in a rapidly-evolving, quality-driven reimbursement environment, Robbie Dalton, CFO, reports that controlling costs are critical. Because labor consumes over 65%-75% of total spend, having a firm hand on labor is mission critical. In primeVIEW, the current daily census and labor are automatically tied, affording management a precise view each day of staffing to budget and actual census. This insight gives AHC’s management team opportunities to train Administrators and DONS to more effectively oversee staffing during each shift. Routinely, management uses PCT’s primeVIEW BI dashboard during its weekly census calls and goal setting.

Revenue is also important to AHC and BI has helped its facilities to increase the average daily census of skilled patients by 7% and private pay by 9% over a 12-month period, resulting in revenue increases of $2.6 million and $980,000 respectively.

Jackson, Mississippi-based Health Care Management, Inc. (HCM), reports Greg Seeger, COO, is able to track what is going on at each of its facilities. “We train our team to use primeVIEW as their go-to KPI information source to track census, labor, 5-star, length of stay, clinical quality, receivables, cash flow, and more. It’s a tremendous resource.” Utilizing the dashboard enables the team to identify discharge types and forecast trends. In addition, decision makers from the facility to the corporate office can access the current census levels by total as well as by payer type which enables the facility to forecast their labor and cash projections with ease.

Health Services Management’s Ray Tyler, COO, reports, “One of the biggest advantages to primeVIEW is our ability to view labor from a consolidated corporate, as well as a facility and even department and employee level…not only today, but we can trend and report on past performance as well.” Take overtime for example. PrimeVIEW’s facility, regional, and corporate reporting enables administrators and their department heads to view not only their performance, but they can also observe how they are doing compared to the other facilities within the company. Information in the dashboard helped HSM facilities reduce OT by an average of three percentage points in the nursing department alone.

Because BI generates current and relevant views of critical LTPAC-related and configurable KPIs, executives and managers are able to monitor and effectively manage those KPIs which are critical to achieving strategic goals. Take it from the pros, they literally know what they are doing and the impact their decisions can have on facility performance.

Topics: business intelligence dashboard BI KPIs LTPAC providers multi-facility operations primeVIEW scalability
3 min read

2011 Blogs in Review – The Role that IT Plays

By Prime Care Tech Marketing on Thu, Dec 22, 2011 @ 05:42 PM

Be nimble with Information Technology, Survive with ITOver the last several months, this blog has covered topics focusing on various aspects of IT and its impact on long term care. In our Thanksgiving Day blog, we observed how important IT has become to all of us – in how we work, how we communicate, how we entertain, how we educate, how we conduct business; IT is everywhere. Although slow in adopting technology, LTC providers have made significant progress in understanding, valuing, and embracing IT as a powerful tool to meet ever-changing challenges. For example, twice we demonstrated this fact as we momentarily digressed from IT-specific topics to alert readers about changes to billing therapy services to Medicare and avoiding workforce-related lawsuits.

These are trying and potentially dangerous times for the economy in general and long term care in particular. The vital role that IT can play in helping LTC providers survive reminds me of the African gazelle. The gazelle can reach a peak speed of 48-50 mph outpacing many of its predators. However, the cheetah can reach 0 to 60 mph in about 3.3 seconds with a top speed of 70 mph. You do the math. Since gazelles are a favorite meal for cheetahs, the difference between life and death is sustainability vs. spurts of brilliance. Cheetahs can only sustain such high speeds in bursts; gazelles on the other hand can maintain their top speed for miles. They can also make sharper turns and initiate quick changes of direction with minimal reduction in speed. Cheetahs cannot. Although slower, gazelles have the advantage if they are alert, sure-footed, and responsive to threats and opportunities.

Likewise, to survive and thrive, to outpace the “cheetah’s” of poor reputation, burdensome and sometimes conflicting regulation, competition, and reduced reimbursement, LTC providers must be on guard, quick to respond, and nimble. However, they also need vision. To blindly charge day-to-day into the fray without a clear understanding of what is going on around them and within their operations, can be suicidal. Data mining and business intelligence can help providers discover, discern, and act on the data they already have. In real time, digital dashboards can reveal business-critical information (Key Performance Indicators – KPIs) displayed in ways that easy to understand.

In 2011, we also discussed how important protection of your IT assets and data is and why disaster plans must include IT. “After the fact” is too late. Also, IT asset management (ITAM) can help providers to track and protect their IT assets, use, and storage.

Just over the horizon loom major changes in health care, ACOs being one of those changes. The significance of ACOs to IT in long term care can be found in the need for interoperability and IT infrastructure. Whether ACO’s pose a threat or an opportunity will depend on the specific market served and the provider’s willingness and ability to respond. Being uninformed and ill prepared is like a deer facing on-coming headlights. The prospect of becoming health care road kill is not appealing.

Question: IT is here to stay, are you on board? In what ways has IT helped your operation?

Topics: IT business intelligence dashboard ACOs disaster recovery IT asset management ITAM Part A Therapy Services
3 min read

It’s time for IT to step up and save the game!

By Prime Care Tech Marketing on Mon, Aug 29, 2011 @ 11:19 AM

IT must demonstrate its ROI in LTC nowIn the Spring of this year, I used baseball as a metaphor for the “game of Long Term Care.” At that time I said that providers were “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.” Little did I know at the time that the term, “sliders of reimbursement,” was going to be uncomfortably prophetic. Because of the drastic “adjustments” to Medicare reimbursement and declining Medicaid rates, the slider is real – a potential slide downhill, that is; they’re game changers. I would like to take the baseball metaphor one swing further.

A successful swing at the plate requires not only skills, talent, great vision, quick reflexes, good upper body strength, and sound judgment, but a solid bat as well, one that each batter can handle comfortably and confidently. It’s the tool that hitters rely on. In the case of LTC, the “bat” I am referring to is IT (information technology). And it’s time for IT to prove its worth as a tool to identify savings without cutting quality and to prevent unnecessary revenue leakage through automated tools and processes.

Savings – the IT Infrastructure

Let’s start with IT itself. Article upon article and one study after another have clearly identified that the “cloud” offers the scalability, flexibility, reliability, and savings that other methods of IT deployment may not offer. Cloud-based computing means lower initial costs and TCO, because all IT-related procurement, maintenance, management, and upgrades are handled remotely. Further, the cloud’s monthly subscription-based model enables providers to use their capital for other critical areas of their business. Earlier this year, the CIO Consortium identified that, “Reasonable, five-year costs to deploy currently available EMR technology and eliminate paper records range from $254,000 per facility for third party hosted solution (italics and color added for emphasis), $259,000 for vendor hosted Software as a Service (SaaS), and $356,000 for an in-house hosted solution.” Clearly, now is the time to carefully consider the cloud as a solid source for immediate and long-term savings.

Real Savings through IT Tools

What specifically does IT offer that will help providers identify savings, stop revenue leakage, and ensure that they are in compliance with regulations? The answer is automation - automated claims management to stop revenue leakage; automated MDS and RUGs reporting; automated procurement to make sure that purchases are per contract pricing, timing, and quality; automated labor management; and automated real-time Key Performance Indicator (KPI) reporting.

Automated claims management helps providers not only to generate, review, edit, and transmit claims, but to identify and act immediately on issues when and where they occur. This includes incorrect claims codes, codes changes and regulations, missing codes, poor communication between clinical and billing staff, poor pricing practices, and inefficient and ineffectual internal review processes.

Automated MDS and RUGs reporting lets providers identify facilities most "at risk" with poor survey performance; discover how each of their facilities ranks among its peers; pinpoint facilities which are operating below or above critical primary care staffing levels; detect residents/patients who are clinically at risk; observe the financial impact of MDS submissions by facility, region, and corporation; scrutinize QM/QI’s at a facility, region, or corporate level, and analyze reimbursement rates (RUGs).

Automated procurement involves complete commerce automation (purchase orders, invoices, and product and contract maintenance) and reporting with intelligent direction and feedback for procurement decisions.  It connects multiple facilities, satellite locations, and branch offices to the vendors, products, pricing, delivery terms, and service providers carefully negotiated and selected by their parent company. Automation allows flexibility and customization for each corporate entity to support their partner selection, the business rules negotiated with each partner, their internal G/L structure, and their purchasing chain of command.

Automated labor management gives providers the tools necessary to manage and control that which amounts to almost 60-70% of a provider’s spend – labor. Automation offers applicant tracking, time and attendance, payroll, and human resources management. Not only can providers reduce costs wisely, but also increase productivity.

Automated real-time Key Performance Indicator (KPI) reporting, or a digital dashboard, translates into business intelligence, which to LTC providers means they can quickly analyze and act on census levels, admissions, and discharges; labor hours and costs; and receivables and collections. Armed with this incredibly valuable information, providers are able to monitor how well they are saving money and increasing revenue in real time and take action, when necessary, with surgical precision.

Summary

IT through the cloud will not only help providers survive, but ultimately win, by confidently hitting whatever is thrown at them out of the park.

Topics: long term care business intelligence dashboard cloud computing IT infrastructure Key Performance Indicators Data Mining human resources automated claims management automated procurement labor management MDS RUGs revenue leakage cloud-based computing
2 min read

How a LTC provider leveraged its digital dashboard

By Prime Care Tech Marketing on Fri, May 06, 2011 @ 01:09 PM

business intelligence, decision making, KPI, cloud computing, digital dashboardIntroduction

An operator of over 35 facilities in four states has been using its digital dashboard to effectively manage census, labor, collections, and MDS information. The company’s BI/digital dashboard project manager cited three reasons that it has become an increasingly successful day-to-day management tool.

Reason #1 - Who needs to see what?

Through planning and coordination with its dashboard developer, in this case – PCT’s primeVIEW, this provider has carefully identified who needs to see what. Senior management, together with key corporate department heads, regional VPs, and the IT team, compared the information displayed by the dashboard with roles and responsibilities throughout the organization. From senior management to corporate departments to regional staff to facility administration, the real-time reports were aligned with accountability and action. For example, while senior management may want a global view of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), such as census, labor, collections, MDS-driven information, critical to them, they did not necessarily need the granularity that the drill-down function afforded to regional staff or corporate department heads. Accordingly, management is able to review reports from primeVIEW which give them the ability to globally assess and address trends, practices, and policies

Historically, view of the dashboard at the facility level had been limited to the administrators and executive directors. However, recently, the company granted permission to department heads to view their specific department KPIs, particularly labor. This gives them the ability to scrutinize such issues as overtime or who may be “milking the clock.” For example, are some employees adding 15 minutes to their punch time in non-productive activities (or malingering)? Because the system refreshes the clocked-in and clock-out times by employee, department heads can identify such issues as they happen. 

Reason #2 – Personal Training

Training is critical in two major areas:

  • How to access and use the tool and
  • How to apply critical thinking to day-to-day tactical and long-term strategic problem solving

Because the system is intuitive and easy to use, most follow-up training takes place on a case-by-case basis after the initial orientation and training. Their BI project manager views the dashboard throughout the day and can tell over time who may need additional support and training tailored to the individual’s needs.

Critical thinking applied to problem solving helps managers effectively resolve problems or seize opportunities. Regional staff works closely with their facility counterparts to interpret dashboard information and create workable action plans.

Reason #3 - Refer to the dashboard regularly; make it a habit

Because the dashboard puts actionable KPIs at the fingertips of those who need it without having to go through someone else, managers can respond quickly. This requires the discipline to refer to the dashboard regularly. Those who do, benefit.

What have been the benefits?

The Project Manager reports that the corporate and regional teams can readily identify the problem facilities and can proactively respond before the issues get out of hand or opportunities are missed. This has resulted in a marked reduction in unnecessary costs and the discovery of opportunities to improve resident/patient services.

Topics: business intelligence KPI dashboard problem solving