Nurse studies data analytics on iPad

Data analytics fluency is a must for today’s nurse leaders

May brings two celebrations of the valuable work of nurses at skilled nursing facilities – National Nurses Week (May 6 – 12) and National Nursing Home Week (May 14 – 20). It’s a great opportunity to recognize the tremendous leadership, skills and caring that nurses bring to all our lives.

As we mark these annual milestones, it’s appropriate to think about milestones in nursing practice, too. One trend that never seems to slow down is the use of technology. These days, nursing professionals are very familiar with technology that aids in their caregiving, such as EHRs, point-of-care systems, health monitoring systems and care management/coordination software.

Majd Alwan, senior vice president and technology/executive director for CAST/LeadingAge, noted at the recent LeadingAge PEAK conference, “Technology has transformed every aspect of our lives” and clinical professionals who care for older adults are on the front lines of the transformation in healthcare.

The next technology frontier for nursing? Data analytics

With a growing emphasis on quality reporting and documentation, nurse leaders are now diving into data analytics. In many skilled nursing facilities, directors of nursing and MDS nurses are tasked with monitoring Quality Measures (QMs) that affect their facility’s 5-star rating. These nurses are leading various organizational quality projects, including goals to:

• Achieve better survey results
• Monitor and improve star rating status
• Monitor and improve acute care readmissions

Without today’s technology, analyzing the data that feeds these projects would be a tedious, manual process. That’s why nurses are increasingly turning to technology that can provide support for performance improvement.

How data analytics supports better care

Greater scrutiny of MDS assessments and mandated quality reporting are increasing the need for SNFs to make sure their data is top-quality. For these nurse leaders, using data analytics is imperative to answer growing demands for documentation and monitoring.

One large life plan community needed more usable, accurate data in real time to improve the quality measures (QMs) being addressed across the organization. To accomplish this, Ohio Living implemented a reporting and analytics application from ABILITY. Connie Tostevin, chief nursing officer for Ohio Living, says one of the big advantages of the technology is that it enabled them “to get real-time measures instead of waiting for the quarterly quality measures reports” from CMS. They also can access historical data, so they can see where their QMs are today compared to previous quarters – and thus forecast what will be coming.

Best of all, says Tostevin, they can monitor the changes they’ve implemented and see if they are having a real effect. They can:

• Identify areas of opportunity
• Zero in on the scope/breadth of an issue
• Devise practical interventions
• Monitor success and adapt

Find out how Ohio Living used data metrics to drive improvement – take a look at their story to see the results.