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From insight to impact: Using data to drive decisions and take action [Webinar Recap] 

homecare software solutions

Every caregiver, clinician, and C-suite executive will agree that data collection is the lifeblood of the home care industry—but we can also admit that the sheer amount of insights is overwhelming. We all have a treasure trove of data, but is it accurate or complete? Can it be organized to tell a logical story or, better yet, can it drive actionable strategies to yield healthier, more profitable outcomes?  

With the proper framework, data can drive better quality metrics that earn home-based care agencies quality incentive bonus funding. Listen, as industry experts Christy Johnson of Premier Home Health Care and AlayaCare’s Michael Appel join Andrew Donlan, Editor at Home Health Care News, to discuss real-world examples and share tips to maximize data from insight to impact.  

Introducing a three-step framework for actionable data 

We often talk about the progression from raw data to functional strategies as if it’s something that happens instantaneously. While that’s a great theoretical framework, in reality, transforming metrics into knowledge must occur in stages. Michael Appel, former Market Leader of US Medicaid & Private Duty and current consultant at AlayaCare, highlights the importance of the crawl, walk, run approach.  

1. Crawl: Ensure complete and accurate data 

The ‘crawl’ stage is the beginning phase of data collection. This is the time to prioritize and identify the goals you’d like to achieve and determine how they could solve operational problems, such as caregiver retention or patient outcomes. Consider which existing tools and processes you already have in your agency that you can deploy to simplify (and eventually scale) your collection efforts.  

2. Walk: Begin to visualize and analyze data 

The ‘walk’ stage is where you begin to connect various data points to start to understand the story your insights are telling as well as identify additional metrics that can better shape the narrative. It’s a stage to build more bespoke reports and correlate insights in a data visualization dashboard.

“Keep in mind all the future stages, and what we want to do with the data later.”

Michael Appel, former Market Leader of US Medicaid & Private Duty and current consultant at AlayaCare

3. Run: Deploy actionable, meaningful tactics 

The ‘run’ stage is where clean data gives way to meaningful action, particularly for key stakeholders and caregivers on your team. “The actual data part of this entire project is very small. It might be the flywheel and driver that really helps things along, or the spark and the basis for what you’re doing, but this is a story that’s a lot about people and process and organization,” Michael explains. 

Implementing ‘crawl, walk, run’ in home care agencies 

The best way to conceptualize the ‘crawl, walk, run’ framework for data collection is to see it in action in a home care agency. During an on-demand webinar, Christy Johnston, MPH, Vice President of Governmental & Managed Care Services at Premier Home Health Care shared how her organization fine-tuned data collection for improved reporting, analysis, and strategic planning. 

First, they crawled: Leveraging existing assets and empowering aids 

Beginning in 2016, Premier set out to become a better provider for patients and a better partner for health plans. So, they leveraged their biggest assets—home health and personal care aids—in a new Observe, Ask, and Report (OAR1) Training Program. Aids were trained on what to observe in the home as it pertains to state-specific quality metrics (i.e. potentially avoidable hospitalizations) and provided ‘trigger questions’ to answer via their existing Electronic Visit Verification System. 

Next, they walked: Fine-tuning collection processes and dashboards 

Once data began rolling in, Christy worked alongside Michael to refine Premier’s collection efforts. Geared with an expansion of modules dictated by the New York State Department of Health and additional questions defined by patient- and payer-specific goals, Premier dashboards could now drill down on specific quality measures.

“That’s the perfect word for this whole thing: It’s iterative. It’s changing, you’re learning, you’re growing, you’re evolving as you move forward.”

Christy Johnston, MPH, Vice President of Governmental & Managed Care Services at Premier Home Health Care

Finally, they ran: Timely interventions for improved quality scores 

“What we wanted was timely interventions. We wanted everything to be informed by real-time data… and then it evolved into, ‘What do we do with this data?’ So began the workflow development of the incoming data,” explained Christy. As such, Premier created an interdisciplinary team (IDT) of caregivers, clinicians, staff coordinators, and management trained on the OAR1 Training Program.  

So, when a caregiver indicated ‘yes’ that a patient had a fall in the past 24 to 48 hours, for instance, that answer was a trigger for the IDT team. First, they confirmed the trigger with the aid, then they sought additional details, such as the location of the fall. Interventions were then put in place in real-time, such as grab bars in the bathroom, to actively limit the number of patient falls reported.  

Premier’s dashboards revealed that timely interventions post-fall improved stabilization across the board. Not only that, but hospitalizations were also decreasing, down from 29.95% in 2017 to 22.38% in 2019.

While these improvements were critical in driving down costs (to the tune of an estimated $6.3M in savings) they also skyrocketed caregiver retention from 37% to 73%. 

What does the future of data collection look like for home-based care agencies? As per Michael and Christy, all signs point to wins for the home care providers that embrace data-driven strategies. 

“It’s a win for payers to have better quality metrics, to have healthier patients and members. It can translate into a win for agencies if there are quality dollars and VBP savings to be had. It’s a win for aids, who are valued and satisfied with their job. Most importantly, it’s a win for the patients … you’re allowing them to stay at home longer, which is where people want to be.” 

Christy Johnston, MPH, Vice President of Governmental & Managed Care Services at Premier Home Health Care

Here at AlayaCare, we’ve leaned into the development of artificial intelligence (AI) tools that help capture clinical and event data to monitor clients, and machine learning tools that enable predictive risk modeling. Our Clinical Notes Detector, for example, uses natural language processing (NLP) to detect vital data in patient notes, improve clinical decision-making, and enhance patient outcomes. 

Watch the full webinar below to learn how to transform conceptual data into actionable strategies! 

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