Going with your gut?

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Steven Littlehale
Steven Littlehale

Intuition fascinates us. Over and over, we hear stories of people having amazing successes following their gut instincts. We seldom hear about those who listen to that inner voice and fail. 

However, studies often show that following your instincts leads to poor outcomes and missed opportunities. Business management expert Tom Davenport, Ph.D., reminded us recently that 40% of major business decisions are based on “gut instinct” rather than data and facts. Davenport's message emphasized “statistical predications consistently outperform ‘gut-based' predictions” and that while “having experts is good, experts using analytics in much better.”  

What do you use instead of your gut? Why, analytics, of course. Predictive analytics, when studied correctly, can provide an organized, measurable path to make sound business, clinical and life decisions. Look around and you'll see that analytics are used in many industries: sports, travel and advertising — the concept is not new at all. 

So why are post-acute care providers coming late to the party? Partly, it's a resource issue. The HITECH Act of 2009 provided funding for hospitals and doctors' offices to purchase IT infrastructure to improve care and reduce costs; but the act did not allocate funds for SNFs to upgrade. This led to data, but not good data and certainly not predictive analytics.  

Today, the PAC industry is closing the gap by defining standardized metrics like risk-adjusted rehospitalization rates. With each additional metric, the use of analytics moves closer to the bedside, and the industry moves away from reliance on staff “instincts.” Using aggregate data allows you to tell your center's story with confidence, and to a wider audience. It allows you to identify potential QAPI opportunities and measure your success over time.  

As a PAC provider, how will you distinguish yourself among your peers? The odds are greater for success if you let go of your gut. You can create demand for your services in your market with your own analytics-driven story. 


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