Too Much Data, Not Enough Time: How to Enhance Operational Efficiencies in Senior Living

February 4, 2021

Senior housing offers a trifold commodity to its residents. Older adults seek active, independent and assisted living, memory support and skilled nursing for longevity of life. Today’s ever-changing senior living sector is expanding its boundaries offering a combination of health care, housing and amenities. With the growth and expanded needs and interests of aging adults comes more data. Every decision should be made with purpose driven data to guide the effectiveness and efficiencies of the senior living portfolio.

What does it mean to have purpose driven data that guides decisions? It is data that is purposeful, organized, consolidated, and strategic. It is purpose driven data that should guide decisions versus instinctive, reactive decisions made by customary traditions or gut feelings.

Too Much Data!
In senior living, it is very common to use multiple software programs across departments and the portfolio of communities. These may include a CRM for Sales and Marketing to track occupancy, census, lead generation, and conversions. Clinical systems are used to manage assessments, medication (EHR, eMAR), care plans, and care staff scheduling. Dining may use a POS system for resident purchases, and other programs are used for dietary approved menus and food ordering. Accounting systems for admissions, resident accounts, receivables, payables, and payroll are used for fiscal management. Labor systems to manage time and attendance and maintain proper staffing ratios. Regulatory compliance programs for training associates. Maintenance systems for plant management. There are undoubtedly many other examples that can be listed.

Due to the large number of unique systems used to manage a portfolio of communities, the volume of data needed by owners, operators and providers is immense. Gathering, deciphering, and analyzing large volumes of data is often done manually which becomes a time-consuming labor-intensive burden for organizations. It is no longer practical to spend countless hours gathering data from numerous disparate systems with a higher demand of focus needed for state regulations, HIPAA compliance, resident care, occupancy and staffing concerns.

Not Enough Time!
So how does a company effectively gather, decipher, and analyze all their data in the midst of the daily demands that take priority over data management? Is there enough time in the day? Many leaders have found resounding success by partnering with experts who understand these huge data challenges. The challenges are managed through a comprehensive strategy that includes the adoption of software designed to automate data flow from disparate systems and simplify the delivery of purposeful, real-time information across an entire organization without limiting access to that information.

Today’s fast paced and ever-changing world demands more and more information be available to decision makers. By properly implementing a business intelligence tool, a company will reduce manual data collection efforts, improve data accuracy, increase communication, lower risk, and create efficiencies. The results will ultimately give valuable time back to employees, improve decision making capabilities, often increase operational margins, and ultimately improve the care of your residents.

Automated Integration
The key to having timely, purpose-driven data is to implement automated system integrations. Today’s senior living innovators no longer rely on manual data gathering efforts to consolidate data. Manual efforts have the potential to be inaccurate or time-consuming which can reduce the usefulness and reliability of the information.

It is important for senior living operators to better understand their business environment, and the best way to do so is to simply have quick access to relevant and up-to-date information. By refining data collection processes, communities have the potential to create new efficiencies, decrease operating expenses, and increase resident care, employee retention and operating margins. If a community is able to more efficiently identify discrepancies in acuity levels, staffing ratios, and other significant factors by analyzing more data recorded over longer periods of time, leaders can make necessary adjustments in a proactive manner.

One Step Ahead
To stay one step ahead, operators must continue to find improved efficiency by analyzing data, but not at the expense of being nimble and reactive to the care of our residents. The value of data increases daily, but this value cannot be realized if a community is introducing inefficiencies simply trying to keep pace with the data it is collecting.

In a world full of uncertainty, maintaining a high-quality resident experience remains the cornerstone of your community’s value. Data can help guide communities to improving the resident experience with accurate, timely and purpose-driven data. By adopting a fully integrated data strategy with the right partner and tools, communities can avoid pitfalls of inaccuracies and benefit from rapid insight at the touch of a button to enhance operational efficiencies.

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