Data is more than numbers—it can paint a picture of how health care providers are doing.
Enhancing the quality of health care involves a lot of collecting, tracking, and analyzing of data to figure out what is and isn’t working. We talked with Jacky Haskell, our Health Information Analyst to learn more about how our analysts collect and look at data.
Tell me a little about what you do for Healthcentric Advisors?
We do a lot of data analysis for the nursing home team around COVID-19 and right now a big focus is on collecting vaccination data.
But since last year nursing homes are required to report COVID-19 cases, staffing COVID-19 cases, deaths, and personal protective equipment supplies into CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network. We track what’s been entered so our teams can help facilities that may have data reporting issues or understanding how to report, which keeps changing with new federal requirements.
We also look at nursing home quality measures and put together reports for facilities summarizing how they’re doing on their five-star ratings, which are published on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) website.
And for the RI Office of Healthy Aging, we act as an independent evaluator for a few projects to track progress, as well as support on communications and outreach.
Why do you think collecting data, analyzing data in health care settings is important?
We analyze data then package it to see not just how a facility or hospital meets a requirement, but how they’re doing compared to their peers.
Organizations can look at data in a few ways:
- By benchmarking they can look at how they’re doing compared to others in the rest of the state and nation.
- For hospital reports, they can see areas of the hospital that have more success addressing infections or other issues, so they can see where they need to focus.
There are all kinds of ways that they can use the data for continued improvement. However, I see it as taking the data they report, seeing how they’ve been doing, making comparisons, and looking at how they’ve been making progress over time.
What data is available publically that organizations can download and analyze? The main place for data for nursing homes and hospitals in the Medicare Care Compare website, updated quarterly, it has CMS quality measure data on things like infection rates.
Departments of health will have state-specific data, such as data on immunizations and healthcare workers, and opioid overdose numbers.
What should a healthcare setting look for in publically available data?
They should be looking for, depending on the setting and the specific data point they’re looking at, some general kind of benchmarking. So for nursing homes, you can go to Medicare Care Compare and go to a particular facility. The site will have their overall STAR rating, specific health quality measures, and how the facility compares to rates in the state and nation on measures.
How does the data you analyze impact community health?
Analyzing data in a healthcare setting helps identify ways to improve health quality such as healthcare-acquired infections or other things that really impact patient care. It helps healthcare organizations identify what they’ve been doing that works and zeroing in on ways to improve.
For interventions beyond the healthcare settings, we’re doing evaluation work for a dementia project in RI. It looks at things that are being done to build a dementia-capable community-based system such as seeing what the real outcomes of trainings have been. Additionally, we’ve done some qualitative interviews to inform those trainings.