Big Data Means Big Changes Ahead for Senior Care

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Many industries from financial services to auto manufacturers are broaching the uses of big data to help fuel more efficient operations. And while senior housing is just beginning to delve into its uses toward management and operations, there is big potential for big data in the market.

Big data basically takes huge amounts of information—think billions of data points—and boils it down to tangible metrics to identify inefficiencies.

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Take the case of Ford, which recently spoke of its big data findings with respect to driving fuel efficiency over the next 50 years. The company employed researchers, scientists and others to project CO2 emissions worldwide for the next 50 years, helping to formulate its targets toward fuel economy, according to environmental industry publication Environmental Leader.

And the implications for healthcare are vast.

“If US healthcare were to use big data creatively and effectively to drive efficiency and quality, the sector could create more than $300 billion in value every year,” wrote McKinsey researchers back in 2011. “Two-thirds of that would be in the form of reducing US healthcare expenditure by about 8 percent.”

Further, big data will serve to help individual companies compete on a national and global scale, McKinsey projected.

“The use of big data will become a key basis of competition and growth for individual firms. From the standpoint of competitiveness and the potential capture of value, all companies need to take big data seriously.”

Typically slower to adopt technology advances than other industries, senior living has not yet adopted the use of big data on a grand scale. But with the onset of electronic health records and new requirements around taking resident information digital, there is vast potential for big data to go full scale in the coming months, says Ben Malakoff, director of product management for MDI Achieve, which operates cloud-based electronic health records solution MatrixCare.

“Long term care is in the early stages of data analysis, but acute care and hospitals have been using big data for a couple of years,” Malakoff says. “Long term care is starting to scratch the surface. We generate so much data that there’s huge potential to mining and using it.”

MatrixCare works with long term care providers toward streamlining business process from information collection and storage, to financial management and marketing. MatrixCare’s EHR software presents the opportunity for big data use among its providers.

“Most customers are using our business intelligence tool to mine their own data,” Malakoff says. “Every one of our large customers is using business intelligence in one way or form. Where we want to come in with big data is to mine all the data collectively and give them benchmarks.  It’s a really exciting opportunity to leverage collective value of all of our customers’ data.”

Acute care providers as well as some in the senior care space are already on their way in using big data while MatrixCare says it hopes to utilize its reams of data in the coming year.
The uses will span both financial findings and clinical ones.

“Any part of the system that captures data can be used,” Malakoff says. “The concept is you have so much data that it helps you mine across the larger group. Everyone gets the benefit of that.”

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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