Capturing Past, Present, and Future Performance of LTC Facilities
Quality metrics aren’t just numbers in a spreadsheet. They are indicators of a long-term care (LTC) facility’s overall health and quality of life for residents. Quality metrics are critical to get a comprehensive picture of how an LTC facility is performing.
Amassing this data takes time, though, and time is often in short supply. LTC facilities need tools to compile real-time data so administrators can improve these quality measures and make a real difference in people’s lives.
Finding the Perfect Fit with PointClickCare
I’ve been the healthcare systems administrator for Westmoreland Manor, a long-term care facility in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, since 2001. Before being hired by the county, I earned three computer-focused degrees, one in programming, one in network administration, and another in information security, so I have a strong background in data.
Around 2008, Pennsylvania added requirements and regulations around point-of-care documentation. The software we used at the time wasn’t sophisticated enough to support us and ensure compliance with these new regulations, so we explored different options. We were looking for a solution that would allow nurses to document clinical information while simultaneously interacting with and delivering care to patients.
From the start, PointClickCare had the most complete package. It had point of care, documentation, orders management, MDS (Minimum Data Set) forms, and billing, all in one platform, which meant we wouldn’t have to go back and forth between various systems. A single solution would save us time and improve accuracy compared to printing out documents and re-entering information into a different system. Years later, it’s still the most robust system we’ve seen, with more tools than any other software. As PointClickCare continued to expand and more tools became available, we also expanded on the platform.
Insights with Impact
When Performance Insights, a data visualization module embedded into the PointClickCare platform, was launched, we started using it right away. The timing was perfect since Pennsylvania had just begun mandating that LTC facilities administer and track Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement (QAPI) plans. We needed to constantly identify areas that weren’t up to par, create improvement plans for each, and provide an audit of our progress for the state to review.
Performance Insights offers quality measure scoring based on the data from our submitted and approved MDS forms, which are clinical assessments we complete when admitting a resident. These forms compile all the quality indicators and measures into usable numbers so we can see how things track compared to where we want to be. For instance, there will never be a LTC facility without any residents on pain or psychotropic medications, but we want to ensure the balance is consistent instead of continually increasing. Performance Insights allows us to use real-time, easy-to-read and interpret data to see where we are at any point in time.
Performance Insights is easy to use and provides clinical, financial, and operational insights to do your job efficiently. Whenever a supervisor or someone from the management team needs benchmarks or hard data, they can turn to Performance Insights and see the actual numbers. In one place, we can see the re-hospitalization rate, short stays, and the census by each kind of payer. These details are incorporated into long-term care billing and day-to-day processes, simplifying work for the business office.
Everyone loves having a centralized platform—especially the management and nursing teams who perform audits. We get so many compliments from the auditors during our annual QAPI surveys because they don’t have to wait for somebody to go find this paper or that document; they can go into PointClickCare and get everything they need, including our quality measures and improvement plans. The state auditor can see we’re not hiding anything, and they know we’re working on the right things.
It’s a huge advantage for patient care as well. If a clinician needs to know how a resident is doing over time, they can look in Performance Insights and see every quality measure pertaining to the resident. They can also check by a particular quality measure and see how many residents are targeted for improvement in that area.
It saves a lot of time on reporting and documentation. Instead of pulling up individual reports for every quality measure, we can see everything at once on one screen.
Performance Insights Proves Its Value
Before Performance Insights was available, we had a quality assurance nurse who was very experienced and detail-oriented. She had three-inch thick folders of handwritten notes and spreadsheets to track all this data. Her files included lists of every quality measure, and she would audit different quality measures each day of the week. It was a lot of paperwork, but she was extremely organized and terrific at her work.
When we started using Performance Insights for QAPI, the built-in performance improvement plans enabled her to go right to a quality measure, click on it, and create an improvement plan from there. Over time, she eliminated all those paper folders, and her job became so much more efficient using Performance Insights.
When she retired, someone else in our organization took over QAPI and wanted to continue using their previous processes from a prior facility, including Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, and a paper trail for the audits. Reverting to these measures led to a QAPI citation. After that, it was clear that those older methods would not get us where we needed to be. Now that the regulations are changing once again, it is the perfect opportunity to get back to using Insights, which has worked flawlessly for us in the past.
An AI-Powered Solution Offers a Glimpse into the Future
PointClickCare recently expanded Performance Insights to include a predictive return-to-hospital feature, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to identify residents that are vulnerable of returning to the hospital within their first 30 days of admission. It also shows whether their risk is increasing, decreasing, or staying the same, and it even includes information about why they’re categorized as high risk.
Performance Insights offers a clear picture of the past, present, and future outlook of a facility. It’s easy to isolate a time period and see how past performance compares to current activity, and how it may impact future outcomes. And with the predictive return-to-hospital feature, we now can make the necessary changes to prevent an adverse outcome for a resident.
Saving Time Improves Morale During Tough Times
We’re a 408-bed facility, and before the pandemic, we were usually at capacity with waiting lists. While we still have waiting lists, we’re currently below 300 residents, and that’s due to staffing. To keep the state minimum staffing levels, we can’t take in more residents because we don’t have the staff to care for them. We had to close one unit completely to condense our staff on the other units.
Performance Insights is a big time saver for us, and for a facility like ours, any time saved is money earned. When administration can save time on reporting, it frees them up to help out on the nursing units—feeding residents, helping pass meds, putting clothes away, providing water, and more.
These time savings also help with morale. It means leadership doesn’t have to take work home to get it done, and when they can lend a hand to floor nurses, everyone feels less overwhelmed. The overall picture is better for everyone.
We use Performance Insights to gain a more holistic view of our quality measures at Westmoreland Manor. This informed view makes it possible for us to keep up with regulatory requirements while decreasing the administrative burden, freeing everyone to engage in more resident-centric activities to improve the care we provide and the quality of life for our residents.