Collect Data – But Don’t Stop There! How to Use Data to Improve Outcomes

April 29, 2021 B.J. Boyle

One of the main promises of the 21st Century Cures Act (“Cures Act”) is that it will advance interoperability, modernize health information technology, and break down longstanding barriers to data. With the Cures Act in place, healthcare organizations will be empowered with easier access to – and exchange of – health information.

But gaining access to this data is only step one. Looking ahead, how healthcare organizations build on the Cures Act and use the data provided will show the true value that the regulation offers.

Create datasets to spot trends

Healthcare providers who want to utilize data gained by the Cures Act need to ensure that they don’t just become ‘collectors’ of the data; they need to be able to leverage it to actually change behavior downstream.

To do so, the data should be separated into three distinct categories, which will allow providers to easily spot trends and enhance the quality of care over time:

  • Data for care coordination and insights between visits: One of the core purposes of the Cures Act provisions is to support care coordination, patient engagement, and healthcare quality improvement initiatives. In between visits, clinicians must have a full view into the incoming patient’s history and background prior to them arriving at the senior care setting.
  • Data to provide the best possible care during a visit or episode: This set of data should enable caregivers to ensure the patient’s stay is as optimized as possible. This would include real-time data about the resident’s status, lab visits, medication management, and more. 
  • Data that looks across visits and network: From a macro level, this data should illustrate outcomes of visits over time to demonstrate how to improve care across the full network and continuum. Stronger network partnerships can result in more successful transitions and outcomes, as well as reduced costs.

One step of many

Care providers are looking for vendors that are simple to implement, more trusted, and easier to scale. While the Cures Act will play a large role in enabling platforms to have more access to data, it will not be a silver bullet. Healthcare organizations must work with partners to supplement the Cures Act with their own innovation.

Remember: Getting the data is not the prize; the prize is using the data to influence the end-user workflow and health outcomes.

Interested in learning more about how technology and data can support senior living? Click here.  

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