2 min read

Use Data to Build Meaningful Relationships with Your Referral Sources

By Prime Care Tech Marketing on Wed, Dec 02, 2015 @ 03:00 PM

Data Meaningful RelationshipsYesterday’s tactics will not work in today’s LTPAC marketing game

When I was operating SNFs in the late 70’s through the early 90’s, the traditional way to forge and foster a solid referral pipeline was to schmooze the hospital discharge planners by visiting them, occasionally taking them to lunch, sending periodic greeting cards, and doing a good job. That “good job” meant that the discharge planners didn’t receive any complaints about the care given to those they referred to us. That was about the extent of it. Like most sales, it was all about personal relationships supported by the absence of complaints. But times have changed.


Today, we’d lose with just schmooze. In this data-driven world of ours and closer scrutiny of functioning relationships between acute care and post-acute care providers (read, hospital readmission rates, for example), we have to demonstrate that our goals and performance align with each hospital’s expectations. Those providers which are able to share statistics vital to acute care providers have a significant advantage over those who can’t. But to be able to do that can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.

Data – the LTPAC marketer’s (not-so) secret weapon

Data mining and business intelligence technologies simplify the collection, storage, retrieval, and conversion of data into readily retrievable and actionable information practically in real time. The information BI offers comes in the form of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which can include census, labor, wages, admissions/discharges/readmissions, cash and collections, clinical, 5 Star, and RAC audits, customer satisfaction, QAPI, actual-to-budget spend, job postings, and more. You get the idea. If the data exists, it can be mined and reported. As you read through this list, you can also see that a tremendous opportunity exists for providers not only to establish a substantial and mutually-beneficial relationship, but one that is easy to maintain. The key here is transparency. It’s no longer, “Just take my word for it.”

But where do you start? First and foremost, find out what matters most to the hospitals in your area. What services do they need post-acute care providers to offer? Do your services offerings align with what they need? Assuming they do, what data points/KPIs would indicate that you are in alignment with their goals? Readmission information? Customer satisfaction survey results? Staffing levels? Lengths of stay? Discharges destination? Clinical trending? Quality measures specific to the services important to the hospital? BI becomes your scorecard in the game of 21st century census building.

Visualize your marketing team walking into the hospital’s conference room where you are introduced to its team of discharge planning stakeholders. Following introductions and the usual “getting-to-know-you” banter, you start your presentation. Now, here’s the fun part. At the right moment in your presentation, you pull out a report generated by your BI tool and distribute a copy to each person. You discern some “Aha!” facial expressions as they easily interpret the charts, graphs, and tables illustrating the KPIs germane to their specific needs. Further, you sense the building excitement as you report that you can provide updates as frequently as they require. You’ve added credibility to your claims that your facility can be the go-to facility for their post-acute discharges. This is the stuff of solid partnerships.

Let’s take rehospitalization KPIs, for example. With hospitals and SNFs under close scrutiny regarding rehospitalization rates, being able to quickly report up-to-the-moment current and trending readmissions-related KPIs by payer, by diagnosis, and by risk levels can be a positive game changer for you.

Bottom line

Using BI can help providers confidently say to their acute care referral sources, “We’re in this together.”

Business Intelligence

Topics: BI KPIs marketers hospitals hospital readmissions discharge planners readmission rates
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

Improve Cash Flow Visibility with Business Intelligence

By Prime Care Tech Marketing on Tue, Nov 10, 2015 @ 11:30 PM

Claims Processing“I believe people are like boats.” With that I’ve started many a seminar and webcast. After a brief pause, I relieve the tension by saying, “They toot the loudest when they’re in a fog.” Ambiguity, tardy information, and just plain situational ignorance can keep many a decision-maker in a fog. However, because of the critical need to know how much and when cash will be flowing into and out of the bank, CFOs need crystal clear visibility. And business Intelligence dispels the haze and sharpens the perception of what is happening. From cash collections and revenue projections to labor and non-labor spend management, operations and finance executives alike can know almost up to the minute how much cash is flowing in and how much is flowing out.

Business Intelligence makes it happen

As we have discussed in previous blogs, Business Intelligence (BI) has become the go-to tool to help managers keep their fingers on their business’s multiple pulses all in one convenient easy-to-view location. For LTPAC providers, this amounts to such Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) as census, cash, accounts receivable, labor and non-labor spend, clinical, and other information. Roll up. Drill down. It doesn’t matter. CFOs can glimpse a consolidated view of KPIs important to them and then drill down as deep as they need to track, trend, and act. It’s real time and it’s highly effective. How? BI makes information visible at all levels within the organization simultaneously. And visibility drives accountability

But let’s limit this conversation to cash flow

Turning revenue into cash in the bank

Let’s explore a day-in-the-life-of one of a CFO who uses BI to monitor and hold accountable those responsible for keeping the cash flow steady and predictable. It’s mid-month and after logging into the BI tool (in our customers’ case, primeVIEW), the CFO, we’ll call him, “Craig”, reviews the tiles he’s configured for his home page displaying what to him are the critical KPIs. From there he clicks on the Cash/AR tab to view such information as:

  • The current month collections-to-goals performance with 12-month trending
  • What’s been collected and deposited each day by payer type for the current month, recent quarter, and year-to-date (Remember. He can view a corporate summary or drill down to a region or facility level.)
  • How each facility or region ranks compared to their company peers by payer type
  • The status of each facilities aging with payer type drilldown capabilities
  • The Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) over a specified period of time
  • How revenue is trending by payer typ

Craig notices that the South region is falling short of its MTD collections through the 15th of the month. He calls Melissa, one of his veteran regional managers, and invites her to open up primeVIEW to discuss these outliers and what her staff can do today to right the regional ship and get it back on course by the next collection benchmark which is the 20th. Melissa reports that she and her staff have been working with Facilities A and D since noticing the slowdown in collections on the 10th. She assures Craig that her team is confident that these facilities will reach the month-end harbor very close to their goals

Financial performance

After concluding the call, Craig clicks on the financial tab to check on current revenues generated compared to budgeted projections by region as well as by facility by payer type. He further reviews revenue by occupancy by day, by payer, and by service. Convinced that the company is on track to meet goals and, in a couple of facilities, to exceed goals, Craig then turns his attention to the bad debt allowance status by facility as well as month-to-month trending. He makes a note to himself to address this issue in the next meeting with his corporate AR manager

Conclusion – Visibility is more than just clarity of sight

Because of BI, cash flow visibility is current, communication is specific, and required action is timely. Visibility encourages accountability and fosters real results.

Business Intelligence

Topics: DSO business intelligence Key Performance Indicators cash flow BI ar days sales outstanding KPIs CFO LTPAC providers
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
3 min read

Benefits of Business Intelligence to Long-Term Care Providers

By Prime Care Tech Marketing on Tue, Nov 03, 2015 @ 06:38 PM

To somewhat freshen up a term that can become stale due to overuse or, possibly, misuse, I would like to spinBusiness Intelligence “business intelligence” (or business analytics) and convert it to “intelligent business.” Sometimes, playing with words (which is fun for me at times) can reshape our paradigms. “Business intelligence” implies the use of systems and processes which simplify the retrieval of data and its conversion into actionable information readily accessible to decision makers in real time[1]. But business intelligence goes beyond technology tools; BI is indeed "intelligent business" decision making. But first, let’s talk about BI’s/Intelligent Business benefits.

BI’s Key Performance Indicators reflect the organization’s mission and objectives.

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.

BI fosters quicker data-driven solutions.

Yes, successful decisions are often based on “hunches”, but in today’s LTPAC world executives and managers have to make and report on specific data-driven KPIs. Before technology truly enabled BI, decisions were often hunches based on information manually extracted from old data, assuming that the information was possibly a trend. It was like trying to drive a car exclusively looking in the rearview mirror. But for businesses to function intelligently with BI, the information needs to be organized and displayed in ways that fosters comprehension, timely quality decisions, and, may I add, accountability. BI also enables managers and executives to retrieve and view data in ways that are specific to their responsibilities and needs.

BI crosses data silos for multi-dimensional views.

Let’s take labor management, for example. For years LTPAC providers have analyzed labor hours and dollars based on hours and dollars per patient per day. Manually, that would mean reconciling time card totals with the census tabulated and reported by the nursing department. However with business-critical enterprise-class software, providers are now using time and attendance applications for labor hours, payroll applications for labor dollars, and clinical applications for the census in aggregate, by payer type, by clinical unit within the facility, and so forth. But each application may be from a different vendor. To get them to talk to each other and to consolidate and convert that data into actionable information instantly requires data mining and BI technology.

BI displays convenient and useful information

BI can also display the information in ways useful to the decision makers. I’ve hinted at this throughout this blog, but the magic to BI is its intelligent use. It starts with identifying and aligning KPIs to the organization’s mission, objectives, strategies, and, yes, culture (but that is a topic for another day). Once selected, KPIs determine how data is be collected, combined into useful information, and displayed in consumable formats. Because the KPI-driven information is available in real time and actionable, executives can make data-driven decisions right now. Now that’s intelligent business.


[1] Lest we get off on a tangent here, I am going to use Merriam-Webster as my source for defining “real time”: “the actual time during which something takes place <the computer may partly analyze the data in real time (as it comes in) — R. H. March>.” (Italics added) In this instance, BI generates information in real time as soon as the system has access to the data (as it comes in).  In the case of most of our BI customers, that means refreshing the data available in their respective data warehouses several times a day – as frequently as each customer wants to have its data updated.

Business Intelligence

Topics: business intelligence Key Performance Indicators Data Mining BI KPIs data-drive decisions real time


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