Every day, senior care directors are expected to make more out of less. They are expected to improve care, even while resources are dwindling. But healthcare data can change all that. By using artificial intelligence solutions such as vital sign and fall prevention monitoring, data can be collected and shared on a larger scale than ever before and improvement can be taken to new heights.
As the saying goes, “if you can’t measure something, you can’t improve it.” The future of senior care will rely more heavily than ever before on the measurement and electronic recording of data.
Where Healthcare Big Data Comes In
Most care directors have begun to hear the word “big data” slung around, but exactly what does that mean, and why is it a buzzword in today’s healthcare and senior settings? The word itself is not complicated; it simply means a very large amount of data – more data than has been collectable in the past. Big data is used these days to analyze data for almost every purpose imaginable, most prevalently for marketing and healthcare. The use of big data and its collection, however, have only just begun.
Health IT and artificial intelligence software in the senior care setting is making the ability to collect and analyze big data easier. The analysis of this data by intelligent software able to learn and grow from it will be extremely useful for determining trends in care, the ways in which care can be improved, and the ways in which illness and other adverse health events can be prevented.
If some data collection is good, then a great deal of data is better. Healthcare facilities and senior living spaces can now compile and combine their data to find solutions together for increased quality of care, population health improvement and better care experiences for residents.
Prior to recent years, this data was recorded on paper and could not be easily analyzed. Now, with electronic health records that has all changed. Data can be collected, recorded, shared and analyzed. And that is precisely what the federal government is calling for senior care directors to do. With the advent of accountable care organizations (ACOs), senior living spaces and acute care facilities will be combining their data and their efforts to improve on care trends. Reimbursement will be provided accordingly; loss of reimbursement for bad outcomes and increased reimbursement for good outcomes.
How healthcare data analysis can change lives
The use of sensor-based technology can be very effective in helping to improve senior care by providing the big data–or building blocks–needed for trend analysis. Sometimes the data is crunched by computers for analysis on a grand scale, as when an ACO analyzes best practices and guides all caregivers on the continuum of care toward better outcomes. Sometimes it is analyzed by artificial intelligence at a given senior living home, helping to improve care in that space. And sometimes humans analyze this data, such as when doctors analyze big data to help program AI systems, which in turn can provide professional medical decision supportin real-time to other doctors. However it is analyzed, data collected at the point of care can be very helpful in predicting the best way to approach care, to avoid medical errors and negative events, and to improve outcome trends, by
1. Predicting and preventing negative health events. Such events can be detected with the use of motion sensors, bed sensors and depth sensors. These sensors can proactively measure, track and study a resident’s patterns over time and provide caregivers with enough warning to stave off negative health events, including falls.
2. Tracking performance. With healthcare data, senior directors can determine whether trends in the care their organization is providing is improving, staying the same, or worsening in response to efforts to change practice. Continued monitoring will help senior care directors to know whether improvement gains are being sustained.
3. Allowing for operational changes, versus individual caregiver changes in performance. The collection and analysis of care data can help a senior care director look at big picture. Workflow can be adjusted and protocol adjusted to change care across the entire enterprise, instead of just collecting data on one caregiver at a time and trying to improve care one resident at a time.
Ultimately, the way artificial intelligence becomes “intelligent” is through studying the data it is given from sensors. Data teaches both the AI and human caregivers. That is why this time in the history of healthcare is so exciting. With the use of electronic health records–and the cloud for storing data–analysis can be expanded and care improved in ways never before achievable.
Has your senior living organization used healthcare data to improve your care capabilities? If not, what’s standing in your way?