The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has created a momentum in quality for post-acute care providers. Nursing facilities in the PAC realm know the importance of providing quality care. Quality is the foundation of their reputation in the community they serve.

I just returned from the LeadingAge National Conference in Philadelphia re-energized in the quest for quality. The conference provided the opportunity to meet with members and discuss the barriers they experience in their pursuit of data.

One of the barriers is access to the most up-to-date quality measures rates to use in their Quality Assurance, Performance Improvement (QAPI) programs. The gold standard in conveniently accessible publicly reported quality measures rates is Nursing Home Compare (NHC). However; NHC data is three to six months old, meaning the residents that comprise the quality measures rates are often already discharged from the facility by the time the rates are made public.

This makes allocating resources to measure specific quality improvement activities almost impossible. Any of the 30 quality measures reported on NHC can be used by facilities to gauge the quality of their care processes. The top three most utilized measures in analysis performed by LeadingAge members are: Long-Stay Falls, Antipsychotics and Pain. 

While there are many data analytic programs on the market today, I was able to provide information on our product, Quality Apex in the exhibit hall at the conference. One of the features of Quality Apex is the automatic display of CMS quality measures rates calculated after each upload of MDS data; providing the most up-to-date rates available. Quality measures rates are displayed in a dashboard format without the need to manually process the data.

These rates guide QAPI programs helping subscribers identify which interventions are working and which are not. Because these rates are the most up-to-date, the rates reflect MDS assessment data for the residents who currently reside in the facility; the residents included in current QAPI studies.  

Through monitoring a quality measure rate subscribers know if there is an adverse or favorable trend. This knowledge allows subscribers to make informed decisions about their QAPI plans; change an intervention in an adverse trend. Facilities that focus on successful interventions can find their quest for quality more productive; saving time and precious resources. That’s today more important than ever for busy long-term care administrators.

Ultimately, data analytics programs are indispensable tools to capture the data used by SNFs in their quest for quality.

Susan Chenail, RN, CCM, RAC-CT, is the Senior Quality Improvement Analyst at LeadingAge New York Technology Solutions LLC