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Big data: How does it affect my home care agency?

Technology is continuously evolving, and new tools are presented to help advance various industries and improve processes. One of the most used technology buzzword affecting the healthcare industry today is “Big Data.”

Big data is being talked about more and is all the rage in the technology world, but what does it mean for home healthcare? 

Healthcare providers are adapting to new technologies such as electronic health records (EHRs), which allow them to gather these “extremely large data sets” of home health documents

While we could dive into the details of how Big Data works and all the tools and technologies that are surfacing to manage and utilize Big Data, let’s rather focus on how it will affect you and your home care agency specifically: 

Through big data analytics, home healthcare providers can determine a number of trends and patterns in both clinical and operational settings. By looking over data collected in home healthcare software solutions, providers can use the information to solve problems and improve care processes in their organization and for their clients in their homes. 

For example, it’s possible to set up predictive alerts based on clinical vitals. This results in provider decision-support and the reduction of hospital readmissions. Providers could also look at the data around missed visits, and identify any trends amongst employees to help develop new processes and policies to prevent them from being missed in the future. 

2. Monitoring

While big data can help predict events and issues, it can also better analyze current client problems. This allows providers to more effectively address them. With the data collected in a clinical setting on a large scale, providers can get a sense of the signs of a client who isn’t managing their care or treatment plan effectively. 

For example, they can use data collected from smartphones to detect signs of depression or lack of exercise. This allows them to intervene accordingly. You could also determine the effectiveness of various treatment plans based on a broad range of clients, improving outcomes and reducing overall costs. 

3. Outcome-focused and prevention

The home care industry has shifted to an outcome-focused model. This involves providers making use of all of the available clinical data and factoring in data science and analytics. 

Bringing all client information together gives stakeholders more visibility and insight into the care being provided. It also opens up the door to improved care coordination, outcome-based reimbursements, population health management, and improved outcomes. 

4. Health system value

As bundled payments take prevalence in healthcare reimbursements, home health has become an important part of the continuum of care. Data communicated back to the payer sets an agency apart from its peers and competitors. 

Taking clinical data on chronic conditions (the highest cost to health systems) allows payers to identify how to best spend the healthcare budget. Similarly, compliance data sent to a payer ensures that the healthcare budget is spent in a responsible and ethical manner. 

These trends set your agency apart and make your agency the preferred choice by clients and payers alike. 

What’s next?

Now you have an idea of the ways that big data can directly affect your home care organization. What are the next steps? Most home care agencies aren’t able to be the innovators and analyzers of Big Data currently, and that’s okay. 

Cloud computing, mobile health, and EHRs probably weren’t originally your specialty either, but your organization probably still benefits from them. Simply thinking about the ways that Big Data could be enabled in your organization and adjusting accordingly will get you ahead of the curve. Here are a few steps to get you started: 

  • Choose a home healthcare software system that allows you greater functionality and flexibility. Rather than a general home health scheduling system, look for a solution that offers reporting and analytics. Look for a platform that integrates with referrals, other health records, or organizations, to increase interoperability and generate more data.
  • Gather key metrics and statistics such as missed visits, and hospital readmissions. As well as, other key clinical or operational vitals for when you’re ready for big data and advanced analytics.

If you haven’t implemented a home care software solution, research the AlayaCare platform in a demo. See how our system can prepare you for Big Data and the future of home care.

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