This article is sponsored by Accushield. In this Voices interview, Skilled Nursing News sits down with Accushield VP of Healthcare Strategy TK King to learn what SNFs can do to get the most out of their data. King also offers insight into the top three areas where data can help SNFs, and explains why so many operators say, “I’ve got all this data, I don’t know what to do with it.”
Skilled Nursing News: What career experiences do you most draw from in your role today?
TK King: Throughout my career I’ve had opportunities to work alongside some of the most passionate people in the industry. Whether it’s clinicians who give everything they have to their residents and patients, or watching operators and interdisciplinary teams go above and beyond to ensure needs are met and teams are thriving, that passion to do what’s right for others is what drives me to help create solutions that better the facility and resident experience for our customers.
Data collection can play a role in a SNF’s business and care delivery in many ways. What are the biggest challenges that SNFs face that can be best addressed through data?
King: A significant issue that most providers today are working through is deciphering how to use the data they’re collecting. We’re still a few years behind acute care and fully understanding the value of the data we capture. More importantly, understanding how to use the data and what it’s impact can do to operations is vital. For example, staff and third-party caregiver sign in data can be used to identify staffing opportunities and avoid unnecessary agency spend. We commonly hear, “I’ve got all this data, I don’t know what to do with it.” That’s what gets me excited – I want to help solve the problem and leverage the solutions we provide to do just that.
Why do you think so many SNF operators today still say, like you said, “I’ve got all this data, I don’t know what to do with it”?
King: Unfortunately, it’s a result of being overregulated, understaffed, and recovering from a pandemic. Even before COVID-19, our industry was trailing behind acute care as we improved our utilization of technology and interoperability. As operators implement new systems to meet a need, they’re collecting data that often isn’t visible, but they know it’s there. It’s often cost prohibiting to hire staff to manage data on a full-time basis. That’s why more providers are turning to software to help expose their data and use it in a meaningful way.
At a high level, what are the most important areas where data can help SNFs?
King: Operational efficiencies, quality of care, and overall compliance. From an operations perspective, workforce development makes the top of the list. Knowing where your position vacancies are, number of applicants, time between application and interview – these are all vital to effectively manage a workforce. It also directly impacts the quality of care for your residents and the culture you create in your facility.
And when we think about quality of care and data, we often think about the prevalence of falls, pressure ulcers and rehospitalizations. But there’s so much more clinical data that attributes to quality care. What about those investigations when a resident falls? How is the data used to identify an opportunity? And finally, compliance. If an operator uses data to support compliance, whether to demonstrate past compliance or anticipate a future regulation — it’s a win!
You mentioned Accushield regarding care quality, but looking at all three of these challenges and the industry’s overall approach to leveraging data, where does Accushield fit in?
King: One of the biggest challenges that our customers face is trying to capture accurate, or clean data. Many providers still capture data on paper – where it’s nearly impossible to leverage the data to make timely, informed decisions.
We recently conducted an analysis analyzing Accushield technology and it’s return on investment. By simply capturing data at a kiosk and using it to eliminate paper processes and automate compliance, a 100-bed skilled nursing facility will see a return of labor dollars of around $31,000 a year. And that’s strictly just enabling staff to capture vaccine information on a mobile app or kiosk. When you add in the time saved by automating visitor management, third-party caregiver logs, clinical insight reports, and other key processes, the return on investment grows tremendously.
What best practices should SNF operators take to get the most out of today’s data-collecting technologies?
King: The first and most important step is just asking the questions and knowing which questions to ask. As technologies advance, SNFs can have a tough time keeping up with the changes, which is why we want to educate them. Knowing which of your vendors can integrate with other vendors is the key to integrations, as is evaluating the types of integrations you have available to you, from staff census and resident census all the way down to clinical data. It’s heavily dependent on asking your vendors what their integration capabilities are.
You then want to leverage your vendors to automate as much regulatory reporting compliance as possible, which is something Accushield does. The idea there is to start leveraging your partners and vendors to help with compliance, and having your clinical lead evaluate the programs to make sure they’re up to date.
Finish this sentence: “The top strategy skilled nursing providers should employ in 2022 to best prepare for 2023 is…”?
King: Leverage the power of data! If you collect it, use it. You’re already paying for the software to collect the data — don’t let its value go unnoticed. It could be the missing puzzle piece.
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Accushield’s tablet-based kiosks replace the manual paper logbooks with a streamlined sign-in and health screening process for all visitors, staff, third-party caregivers and residents who enter and exit the building. To learn more about how Accushield can help your SNF, visit Accushield.com.
The Voices Series is a sponsored content program featuring leading executives discussing trends, topics and more shaping their industry in a question-and-answer format. For more information on Voices, please contact [email protected].