Shining a Light on Data Reality

In the Quarter 2 Financial and Operations Update, LSS leaders shared updates on the two 2019 objectives: The Enhancing Assisted Living Performance and Workforce Excellence.

To get large objectives like these started, information needs to be gathered and analyzed. That’s where the LSS data analysis team, part of Innovation, Project Coordination, and Decision Support, comes in. This team gets involved to help determine the questions that need to be answered to find the solution to the problem. Based on the questions, the team considers what kind of information is needed to find the answer, sees if LSS has that information, and then gathers or gets the information to be analyzed.

For example, with the Assisted Living project the data analysis team had the hypothesis that Assisted Living residents’ acuity was impacting the communities’ ability to provide adequate support to those residents. The first step was to understand exactly how often and how much time was needed to provide each activity of daily living or ADL. When the team began looking for this information they found that it wasn’t tracked anywhere. So, the data analysis team began collecting that data.

This oftentimes happens when the data team goes looking for information and data points and learns that it’s either not being collected or is being recorded in different ways across the organization. Along the way the team finds potential enhancements in collecting information and implements the improvements. After all, the decisions made based on data can only be as good as the data that is entered.

After the right data is collected the team builds a mathematical model that runs different scenarios to determine what is happening or even what could happen. That’s the great thing about numbers – they don’t lie! Numbers provide insights into what is really happening and can either confirm or challenge our assumptions.

The analysis of our Assisted Living residents’ ADLs began to challenge our assumptions of our current staffing strategies. Industry-wide, staffing methodologies align with meeting the regulatory requirements of “Hours Per Patient Day.” After collecting real time data of ADLs between our caregivers and residents, the numbers showed that the staffing patterns were not necessarily aligned with the needs, or acuity, of our resident populations within each community.

This data analysis provided the team with the ability to create a staffing model that aligned resources with the needs of individual residents based upon their acuity. Communities with higher acuity could get the additional staffing they need to serve those residents. Communities with lower acuity would be able to staff accordingly to the best use of everyone’s time.

In 2019, a similar approach is being given to the Workforce Excellence objective. One of the first steps was to identify what is impacting employee turnover. At the beginning of the analysis, the team had assumptions about what was causing turnover, however after crunching the numbers it showed something different. Findings like this allow the project team to focus on what the problem really is versus wasting time and effort on issues that are not the root cause of the problem.

Our approach with data and how we analyze it is changing at LSS. This is helping us work smarter by identifying what is actually happening and why and will continue to improve decision-making into the future. Because of this, LSS is able to use resources wisely and solve problems quicker. Bottom line this means better experiences for LSS staff and ultimately residents.

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