3 min read

How Meaningful Data Helps Track QAPI Progress

By Prime Care Tech Marketing on Tue, Nov 17, 2015 @ 06:07 PM


DataIn a blog posted a few years ago, we introduced how providers can discover the hidden treasures of data mining. In it we wrote, “Refined data transformed into information becomes knowledge and knowledge – the power to act. Data mining, therefore, helps executives discover what is happening now, track trends, anticipate with some accuracy what may happen in the future, and explore the strengths of possible actions.” The data treasure trove becomes meaningful when viewed through dashboards.  

This concept has direct application to your QAPI[1] initiatives.

What is a dashboard?

A dashboard helps deliver information which is easy to retrieve, interpret, and act on. It may include tables, charts, and graphs indicating progress toward your QA goals and can deliver alerts to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)[2] which may be significantly below or above targeted benchmarks. Because a dashboard offers information refreshed throughout the day, clinicians should monitor it routinely. Beyond regular viewing of the dashboard, making it and its displayed results an integral part of everyday conversation among clinicians is extremely important.

How to leverage your dashboard

You have worked hard to create a culture of quality and the dashboard can serve as a tremendous tool for acknowledging and rewarding progress and for working with your team to take opportune corrective action when performance falls short. Because the KPIs are timely and relevant, dashboards invite involvement among all the organization’s key QAPI players.

Through its KPI roll-up and drill-down capabilities, a dashboard enables clinicians at all levels within the organization to view KPIs germane to their responsibilities. A corporate clinical executive can view rolled up KPIs summarizing information at a corporate level. They can also drill down to a region, facility, and department level as desired or direct region and/or facility managers to focus on outliers. Because they do not have to create or wait for reports created and submitted by others, clinical managers can focus on what needs to be done now.

Dashboards can help clinicians to:

  • Facilitate communication within a team and among teams across the organization
  • Organize and render KPIs accessible at all levels
  • Track progress and opportunities for improvement

Some dashboards, like PCT’s primeVIEW, offer a hybrid of clinically-oriented KPI views for clinicians taken directly from the clinical applications each provider uses, such as PointClickCare, and partnered predictive analytics, such as PointRight, and resident and family satisfaction trends from Pinnacle Quality Insight. For example, clinicians can track such KPIs as:A Monthly Clinical Summary

  • Year-to-Date Clinical Trending
  • Re-hospitalization rates
  • 5 Star Rating, including facility ratings, deficiencies and fines, quality measures, comparison to local facilities, staff PPD ratings and trending
  • Resident and family satisfaction trends
  • Staffing KPIs including actual to census-adjusted labor hour PPDs
  • And more.

Dashboards can help clinicians to meaningfully:

  • Identity gaps and opportunities
  • Take action to redirect and support

Data converted to information delivers the knowledge to take positive steps to achieve an organization’s goals. Business intelligence enables purposeful data mining to extract the relevant data and display it in meaningful ways through dashboards. If you have not already seized the opportunity to harness the power of dashboards, we highly encourage you to do so.

[1] From the AHCA/NCAL website we read that ”​QAPI is defined by CMS as ‘an initiative that goes beyond the current Quality Assessment and Assurance (QAA) provision, and aims to significantly expand the intensity and scope of current activities in order to not only correct quality deficiencies (quality assurance), but also to put practices in place to monitor all nursing home care and services to continuously improve performance.’
  • “Quality Assurance (QA) = the process of meeting quality standards and assuring that care reaches an acceptable level.
  • “Performance Improvement (PI) = continuously analyzing your performance and developing systematic efforts to improve it; also known as Quality Improvement.”

[2] KPIs are quantifiable benchmarks used to measure actual performance compared to, in this case, Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement goals.


 Business Intelligence

Topics: dashboards Key Performance Indicators KPIs QAPI Progress Improvement QA PI data Quality Assurance QA Goals
3 min read

4 Ways to Start Turning Business Intelligence into the Right Decisions

By Prime Care Tech Marketing on Thu, Nov 05, 2015 @ 01:31 AM

Business IntelligenceLikely you’ve heard the old Biblical reference about the fruitless outcome of trying to put new wine in an old bottle. Sometimes you just have to discard the old bottle and start afresh with a new one. From an organizational standpoint, that means scrapping the old ways and introducing the new. Business Intelligence with its Key Performance Indicators and dashboard views are the new wine of data-driven decisions. But as intoxicating as that may sound, if you try to introduce it into the old bottle of your organization’s old ways of reporting and communications, you may have an informational hangover. So what can the new bottle look like? I suggest the following may help, based on some of our BI customers’ successful practices:

  • Make BI part of your organizational culture - your mission and objectives
  • Tie BI to performance incentives
  • Use BI daily – communications and support
  • Include BI in your monthly financial and operational performance reviews

Make BI part of your organizational culture – your mission and objectives

In our recent blog, I introduced the following:

“I like the concept of each organization focusing its decision making on its mission and objectives. BI helps significantly to do just that, because executives and management can identify and align Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to the broader organization’s mission, goals, strategies, and culture as well as to each of its business units’ objectives. The magic of BI is that the information displayed can be rolled up or drilled down to specific levels of interest and responsibility within the organization. Let’s say that the COO, who likely would never log into his or her organization’s clinical application, can view a consolidated corporate view or an expanded view of all regions’ or facilities’ clinical KPIs. Likewise, a department head can view his or her specific KPIs benchmarked against department-specific goals.”

Doing so, makes the next step easier.

Tie BI to performance incentives

One of our customers, operating over 40 buildings across five states, has tied administrator and other executive incentive plans to the KPIs specific to their responsibilities. Doing so keeps the entire organization focused on tightly-defined outcomes tied to the company’s overall mission and objectives as mentioned above. This makes accountability measurable and immediate. And because BI is “real time”, it is a useful tool for coaching, facilitating, supporting, and redirecting. This unique level of transparency is motivational. It helps leaders to review their performance trends and, where appropriate, even within the context of how they are doing compared to their peers.

Use BI daily – communication and support

Many of our customers use BI in their daily morning stand-up meetings. Because of the dashboard’s flexibility, the dashboard administrator can determine who sees what information based on predetermined roll-based permissions. Department heads can view their relevant KPIs, while their administrators/executive directors can view all department and facility-specific KPIs. Regional managers and consultants view consolidated regional information as well as specific facility and department performance. CEOs, COOs, and CFOs can view consolidated information at a corporate level or drill down to region and facility information as desired.

This helps also to simplify communication up and down the organizational structure. Facility, regional and corporate staff no longer have to ask, “What?” They can dwell on the “why” and what to do about the opportunities or challenges that the “what” reveals.

Include BI in your monthly financial and operational performance reviews

One COO of a multi-facility chain, reports that he uses the dashboard during the monthly financial and operational reviews. “Today with primeVIEW (PCT’s BI dashboard) conspicuously displayed on a large monitor in his office for group discussion, (Ray Tyler, COO of Health Services Management Group) and (his) team can observe and examine such Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) as census, labor, RUG levels, and accounts receivable throughout the day. His use of primeVIEW goes beyond daily operations; Tyler also refers to it during his monthly financial reviews with facility administrators who simultaneously view performance in areas of focus. ‘By the time our P&Ls are ready, they are a month or more in arrears,’ commented Tyler. ‘But with primeVIEW, we can discuss what happened last month and examine current KPIs which directly impact financial performance and help us predict month-end outcomes.’”


Business Intelligence can become an integral part of your organization’s communication, management, leadership, and accountability structure. Inculcating in how you lead and oversee your business can yield significant dividends.

Business Intelligence

Topics: dashboards business intelligence Key Performance Indicators BI dashboard KPIs performance reviews
2 min read

Long Term Care and IT

By Prime Care Tech Marketing on Mon, Mar 05, 2012 @ 04:54 PM

A Major Health Care IT Paradigm Shift

“Best Practices” in the old days – paper pushing.
Historically, health care in general and long term care specifically, has been intensively paper based - forms, spindles, chart tables, racks, and binders. Documentation was (and still is) the name of the game and pushing paper was the only way. Even regulatory enforcement surveys were based on paper compliance with bedside visits to verify the documentation. Paper-based documentation consumed a lot of trees and filled a lot of storage files and storage units.

On the upside, a paper-based system never froze up, crashed, or hung. The staff never had to worry about connectivity, rebooting the computer, unplugging and plugging a cable, or finding a wireless access point and rebooting it. They just needed to make sure they had a pen with the right color.

LTC and IT, EHR, tablet PC“Best Practices” today – Getting past the paper paradigm
Only recently has long term care demonstrated a grudging willingness to adopt IT as the way to communicate and document. Narrow margins, suspect IT promises, and resistance to change have contributed to this lethargy. Further, what technology has done to society it has done many-fold to LTC. Staffers have discovered that the promises of “increased productivity” have in reality resulted in increased demands.

However, the outside pressures of increased competition, a shrinking skilled labor pool, a younger, more computer-savvy cadre of care givers, more restrictive regulations and reimbursement, and opportunities posed by HIEs and ACOs have become the incentives for a more rapid LTC IT adoption. Providers across the country have begun to realize tangible benefits to their operations through IT. For example, with the advent of real-time reporting and Business Intelligence, such as PCT’s primeVIEW digital dashboard, health care executives are able to identify and respond to problems and opportunities quickly. This results in real savings, expanded market penetrations, improved bottom lines, increased efficiencies, and better resident care.

Consider this, a recent LTC provider’s initiative capitalized on the flexibility and accessibility of its company Intranet and focused on assessing and improving weekly weight and skin condition assessments. Recording their assessments electronically yielded a significant reduction in staff documentation time; this means more time face-to-face time working with residents and less time pushing a pen.

What’s the impact that IT can have on the facilities and their residents?
It means an improvement in the quality of life and care for residents. For providers it means, among many benefits, a healthier bottom line, reduced DSO through automated claims management, reduced procurement spend through procurement automation, a stronger competitive edge over those facilities which are IT resistant, and being well situated when working with other providers along the continuum of care.

  • How has IT helped your operation?
  • If you have embraced IT, how has it benefitted your operation and the services you deliver?


Topics: dashboards long term care IT continuum of care best practices DSO
2 min read

BI, Analytics, Problem-Solving, and Winning the LTC Game

By Prime Care Tech Marketing on Fri, Apr 29, 2011 @ 01:41 PM

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?” 

Topics: dashboards analytics BI
3 min read

BI and Analytics – Decision Support with Real Bottom Line Impact

By Prime Care Tech Marketing on Fri, Mar 04, 2011 @ 02:54 PM

Overview Business intelligence, analyticsIn our previous blog, “Discover the Wealth in Business Intelligence through Data Mining,” we discussed how data mining is indispensible in helping today's executive discover hidden patterns of vital Business Intelligence (BI). With BI, LTC executives have been able to view their organizations’ financial, operational, and marketing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in real time. BI viewed through digital dashboards delivers the granularity, flexibility, and responsiveness executives need. Given the layers of information, or analytics, that is available through BI, managers can readily peer into their organization’s performance. Jim Hoey, President of Prime Care Technologies, recently reported, “Many of the executives I visit with understand the value that such a system can offer and have even taken advantage of its availability.”

Like an onion, however, the more you peel back the informational layers, the more it may bring you to tears. Whether they are tears of joy or frustration depends on what you do with the information.

How does a BI Dashboard work?

Let’s share with you what a dashboard looks like and has done for others. You arrive at your office and log on to your computer. You then click on the dashboard icon on your desktop. After logging in using your desktop, laptop, tablet PC, a thin client, or even an iPad, the digital dashboard displays KPIs which are important to you from a corporate, division, region, or facility standpoint, depending on your security permissions. For LTC providers, these may include vital labor information (especially nursing services), census information, collections, cash summary and details, accounts receivable, RUGs, reports concerning facility risk, a MDS & QM/QI risk focus, corporate/chain survey risks, risk management/loss control, and customized risk analysis, among other KPIs.

The dashboard even cues you automatically regarding which factors should be of greatest concern and where your specific weak spots are at that moment. You have the capability of viewing the cumulative opportunities and risks for your company in the format you prefer – charts, graphs, or tables. You also have the ability to drill down to a corporate and facility level – even to a department or specific employee. You can get as granular as your data and policies allow. And because the information is in real time[1], it reflects what is happening now, based on how often you want the data refreshed. The system will even send real-time alerts when certain KPI’s exceed or drop below specified tolerances.

What’s the impact?

The following are real-world examples of those who have experienced tears of joy: one CEO reported his 22-facility company, a PCT customer, has benefitted from the labor report portion of the dashboard. Because the information is timely and available anytime from anywhere, his team was able to view and respond quickly to labor trends that were unsustainable and wasteful. “Because of our dashboard, we have saved over $80,000 per month in unnecessary labor costs,” he reported. “There is a direct correlation between the dashboard and the savings realized.” In another case, a CEO stated that the MDS feature added an average of $6,500 for the first month to the bottom line of each of his 50-plus facilities with a sustained average improvement of $1,500 per month for each facility thereafter.

The critical key to leveraging BI is whether the information presented in the dashboard is timely, readily interpretable, and actionable. But even if the BI meets those criteria, it still comes down to the most important factor, even for technology – people. People interpret the information, communicate, delegate, make decisions, plan, take action, and follow up. That’s the where real power of business intelligence resides. 

In summary:

  • Business Intelligence (BI)/analytics delivers the granularity, flexibility, and responsiveness executives need.
  • The BI dashboard displays graphs, charts, and tables with actionable information that can help executives at all levels effectively discover and analyze KPIs that are critical to their business.
  • BI is where technology and people come together with a potentially powerful and positive impact to the quality of services delivered and the bottom line realized.

[1] re·al-time (r l-t m , r l -), adj. Of or relating to computer systems that update information at the same rate as they receive data… http://www.thefreedictionary.com/real-time


Topics: dashboards business intelligence KPI analytics BI


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