Tips for using home health and hospice data

By Brian Martin
VP, SimiTree Financial Monitor

We all know that data is critical to effective quality and financial management in today’s home health and hospice world. But it is very easy to feel inundated and overwhelmed with the vast array of metrics and complex calculations.

The analytics team at SimiTree has a few tips to help make reports more useful in driving decisions, not just creating confusion.

1. Use reporting systems that prepare measures for you. While it can be tempting to save a few dollars by investigating your own data rather than relying on CMS reports or investing in a reporting system, this path comes with many costly risks:

• Setting up calculations takes time, expertise, and the right software to automate data extraction and reporting.

• Many measures — particularly those around quality — have hidden complexity. If your calculations don’t align with the regulatory version, you may be assessing your performance inaccurately.

• Similarly, if you are comparing against benchmarks, the comparison will be meaningless if the numbers aren’t prepared with the same methodology.

2. Be thoughtful about data presentation. Just because we recommend that you invest in systems that prepare data for you doesn’t mean that you must use them off-the-shelf!

We encourage agencies to customize how they organize and present data, specific to the scope of their agency and services, their priorities and challenges, and their team’s depth of expertise, comfort with data, and areas of focus.

Some details to consider:

• Consolidate data, where appropriate. Don’t make it harder or more time-consuming for busy leaders at your agency to find the information; the more hurdles to accessing data, the less likely they will even try to find it.

• Include in the consolidated reporting (or dashboards) benchmarks and trends for putting performance in context. Again--don’t make people hunt for numbers!

• Include the most relevant measures for the intended audience—don’t give them extra information that will distract them and (again) be reason for them to avoid data.

• Consider how easy it is to both read and interpret the data. What is the best presentation, given the user’s perspective and comfort with the data? How quickly can they identify what you want them to? Should the data be in tables or charts? Can you include visual cues to drawn attention to positive or concerning results, or meaningful trends?

SimiTree can help

At SimiTree, we have several ways that we help you practice what we preach, including:

SimiTree Financial Monitor—Simplified and meaningful financial reporting to easily highlight areas of strength and uncover opportunities for improvement. We collect your raw financial and statistical data and give you a comprehensive report. The report is easy to access online, organized by area of performance (for example, margins by payer, indirect expense allocation, PDGM utilization, hospice cost structure, and financial operational metrics like billing efficiency and A/R aging), trended and benchmarked against two relevant comparison groups. Learn more.

SimiTree Market Analysis Platform (MAP)—Visibility into critical market characteristics, making it quick and easy to understand referral patterns and relationships, assess competitors and partners, and identify opportunities for growth. MAP leverages claims data to provide a clear picture of market trends and specific providers in your community; it is available on-line, organized to focus your attention on the most important characteristics so that you can prioritize your time on action, rather than analysis. Learn more.

 • Fully customized consulting—Whether you could use some fresh perspective, another set of hands, or deeper technical or best practice expertise, our team is available to review what would best help your agency and put together a plan to achieve your reporting goals.

Use the form below to reach out to us with questions, and learn how SimiTree can help your agency use data more effectively and easily.

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Let's work together to improve the health of your organization. At SimiTree, we balance financial expertise and clinical excellence to help our clients grow. How can we help you? Call us at 800.949.0388 or complete the form below.