10 questions that help turn data into actionable insights
What’s one of the most widely used words in healthcare today? Chances are it’s “data.” It’s everywhere, from reporting performance and outcomes to exploring demographics and staffing patterns. The question for today is: are you using data to create actions that lead to meaningful change? Or is your organization just collecting data for the sake of collecting it? The wound care industry has more than its share of information sources and reports. However, the plethora of data to analyze and manage doesn’t mean you should go into data overload. It does mean it’s time for a fresh look at how you can turn data into actionable insights and use it to make a difference where it’s most needed. Whether you work in a hospital setting or long-term care facility, or you manage an outpatient facility or wound care clinic, there are ways to ensure your data is working for you and getting the insights needed to improve key performance metrics and ROI.
- 10 questions that help turn data into actionable insights
- #1: What wounds do you see the most?
- #2: What procedures cost you the most or provide the most revenue?
- #3: What are your problem areas?
- #4: Are you using advanced technology to improve your wound care outcomes?
- #5: Are you using data to improve your wound care operations?
- #6: Does your wound care data show you which areas to target to improve your workflow?
- #7: Does your wound care data help with compliance and documentation?
- #8: Does your wound care EHR data help to prepare better reports?
- #9: Does your wound care data help manage risk?
- #10: Is this just more wound care data to analyze?
#1: What wounds do you see the most?
With data, you can really dive in and explore this vital question. What are your patient demographics, and what kind of wounds do they most often present to your facility? Is there a seasonal or time-based relationship to wound prevalence? What role do demographics play? Those are all key insights to explore. For example, if you have a high population of elderly patients with bedsores, look at why. Is it in one department or shift? Are there volume changes over time?
Wound care data available in the electronic health record (EHR) should be able to highlight critical trends that help you know where there are problem areas in need of attention, as well as departments or individuals that may need additional education and training. Ensure your EHR provides the functionality needed to optimize outcomes and operations.
#2: What procedures cost you the most or provide the most revenue?
Properly coding wound care procedures is vital for many reasons. For example, it’s critical to know which wound care procedures are causing the organization to lose money and which procedures generate higher revenue. In addition, do you have a high number of rejected claims? If so, a refresher on coding may be in order. Wound care data available in your EHR provides good news as well. For example, your clinic may have become exceptionally adept at caring for patients with diabetic foot ulcers.
Look for areas where you are generating or losing revenue. Develop programs to attack areas of loss and find ways to promote areas of success. If you have successful programs, let people know. Reach out to local diabetes care providers if you have exceptionally high rates of treating diabetic foot ulcers. Share your success in treating venous ulcers with cardiologists, etc.
#3: What are your problem areas?
There is always room for improvement in even the best-run wound care businesses. Look at key performance metrics, starting with those most measured by your organization, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), accreditation programs like The Joint Commission, and payers.
- What is your patient satisfaction rate?
- Have you had any hospital-acquired pressure injuries (HAPIs) in the past 12 months?
- Are patients readmitted for conditions related to wounds?
- What is your average length of stay?
Look at industry and competitive benchmarks and develop programs to improve clinical and operational outcomes. (One source is CMS Hospital Compare.) Tout the data that spotlights your excellence and commit to working on outcomes that will better meet your standards.
#4: Are you using advanced technology to improve your wound care outcomes?
One of the more exciting innovations made possible by data is the ability to generate predictive models to identify wounds at risk for deterioration, or even that may lead to amputations. We’ve seen a disturbing increase in amputations related to diabetic foot ulcers since COVID-19.1 Today, tools with AI-powered technology and predictive analytics better identify at-risk wounds. Net Health® Wound Care software platform now includes the Risk of Amputation Indicator, developed to reduce the risk of amputations due to wounds. The Wound Healing Velocity Indicator was developed to predict wound healing rates. Both capabilities will provide insights to develop optimal patient therapies, implement effective interventions, and plan treatment paths to improve outcomes.
The availability of large pools of wound care EHR data is helping to provide essential insights into wound healing and other factors. Explore the new technologies and consider which ones could help improve your performance and patient outcomes.
#5: Are you using data to improve your wound care operations?
Operating a successful and efficient wound care clinic or department encompasses many issues. One of the more frustrating elements of clinic-based wound care practice is when patients miss appointments. It interrupts workflow and leads to additional time and cost to reschedule. The biggest issue is that patients with wounds need to see you. They need the care and services only you can provide. Missed appointments are especially concerning for high-risk patients, such as those with diabetic or venous ulcers. Review visits for your at-risk patients to ensure they are not missing appointments. (Note – Net Health® Tissue Analytics now has a new Practice Analytics feature called Missed Visit Prediction, which helps identify patients at risk of missing visits.)
#6: Does your wound care data show you which areas to target to improve your workflow?
Efficient workflow processes are essential to effective wound care. Because of the busy and uncertain nature of wound care (what type of wound will present, what patients will/won’t show), it’s also one of the more difficult goals to achieve. The first step to enhancing workflow is to review data for critical operations such as:
- Processes for registration, coding, medical records, and billing and denial management
- Cognitive workflows by clinicians and providers, including documentation requirements driven by visit type
- Efficiencies to drive patient throughput
Next, consider the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and how the MIPS requirements impact your clinical documentation workflows and reporting to CMS. The electronic medical record workflows must be flexible enough to capture significant amounts of regulatory data for Promoting Interoperability, Improvement Activities, Costs, and Quality Measures. These reportable data serve as the basis for MIPS reporting.2
Know your MIPS category requirements and ensure you use certified EHR technology for your documentation and reporting. For even more insights, check QPP.CMS.GOV.
#7: Does your wound care data help with compliance and documentation?
To achieve accurate documentation (based on your data) and payment for wound care, you must create best practices for your processes and workflows. The medical record’s documentation components provide the platform for medical necessity and continuity of care. Remember, the goal for your documentation details is to provide the highest possible degree of clinical specificity to ensure documentation compliance and meaningful data.3
Proactive monitoring and auditing are essential to test and confirm compliance with legal requirements. The auditing function brings checks and balances to your documentation. Use a specialty wound care EHR that provides discrete data fields focused on specific wound care elements and compliance requirements that support documentation standards, enhance outcomes, optimize reimbursement, and use a reporting suite that generates meaningful data.
#8: Does your wound care EHR data help to prepare better reports?
There are so many reporting requirements in healthcare today. To truly understand how a practice performs clinically and operationally, every facility needs to know how reporting consistently influences performance, outcomes, patient satisfaction, and other areas. Tools that help you collect, categorize, and report on this data make the process easier and more efficient. For example, Net Health Wound Care provides easy access to integrated clinical, financial, and regulatory tools that also help to enhance performance and patient care.
Look for information that helps you better tell your story. Are you achieving high levels of patient satisfaction? Check out sites like CMS‘ Care Compare to get more insights into required reporting documents.
#9: Does your wound care data help manage risk?
Data plays a critical role in helping organizations manage risk by highlighting potentially problematic areas. When properly collected, analyzed, and reported, it also becomes a tremendous asset for managing risks and potential lawsuits. For example, HAPIs are the second most common hospital lawsuit claim after a wrongful death. They lead to 60,000 patient deaths each year.4 More than 17,000 lawsuits arise due to PIs annually at an average settlement of $250,000.5
Ensure your data collections emphasize documentation, compliance, and outcomes so that it can be used as a defense against lawsuits.
#10: Is this just more wound care data to analyze?
No. Consider that the key to data isn’t to look for ways to generate more. The key is to ensure the data your organization creates is useful and provides meaningful actions that help tackle problems and achieve goals. It’s to help you work smarter, not harder. If you need assistance interpreting or analyzing your data, Net Health can help.
- Dominick J., Yancovitz S., Barron I, et al. Diabetes-related major and minor amputation risk increased during the
COVID-19 pandemic. J Am Podiatr Med Assoc. Nov. 2020.
- Hess. C. Processes + Workflows Drive Documentation Compliance. Advances in Skin and Wound Care. Oct. 2013.
- Hess C. The Cornerstone of Your Workflow: Compliance. Advances in Skin and Wound Care. Feb. 2018.
- Cunningham N. Legal impact of pressure ulcer terminology. 2018 Pressure Ulcer Summit of the Association for the Advancement of Wound Care, Atlanta, US, February 9–10, 2018.X362c23cda3b2d2143b58aa7eee4055b5259e6df
- Bauer, K., Rock, K., Nazzal, M., Jones, O., Qu, W., Pressure Ulcers in the United States’ Inpatient Population From 2008 to 2012: Results of a Retrospective Nationwide Study. Ostomy Wound Management. November 2016.