5 Ways IDD Execs Use Software for Data-Driven Decision Making

How organizations and their executives serving the needs of people with intellectual or developmental disability (IDD) respond to requests for assistance or care is changing. Innovation in technology generates more data with each passing day.

You can utilize this information to improve the lives of those you serve and reduce costs along the way, but the path to empowering executives with data-driven decision making is not always clear. So, you need to think about these five ways that you can leverage today’s software systems to your benefit.


1. Telemedicine Brings Access to Services for More People.

In a report to Congress, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) explored the benefits and drawbacks to using telehealth, otherwise known as telemedicine, to reach more people and reduce health service shortages. Among people with intellectual disability, existing service providers may already be scarce, and no one knows when and how the next political era will impact funding or the catchment area for your organization.

This turmoil caused panic and uncertainty, but the benefits of telemedicine clearly outweigh any potential drawbacks or investments that you might face.

Approximately 59 million Americans live in areas without immediate access to health care services. Pairing this with prevalence rates on intellectual or developmental disability, as explained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the U.S. up to 9.8 million people could face the dilemma of not having access to services for children with intellectual disability.

Telemedicine modalities include the following:

  • Store-and-forward (SFT) – This type of telemedicine includes the transmission of digital media from the person served to the provider. Essentially, a local care provider could perform diagnostic tests on your organization’s behalf, eliminating travel concerns or costs to your organization.
  • Live video – Video chatting could be used through different software platforms to enable immediate visits with people regarding their condition or health.
  • Remote monitoring of condition – This includes using vital sign monitors or other data-collecting devices, including wearables, such as smartwatches, to provide real-time health data to your organization.
  • Mobile health – App-based systems comprise this form of telemedicine, and it can be expanded to include mobile workers and the coordination of care providers.

Each form of telemedicine reduces the costs to your organization, allowing you to effectively provide services without increasing your overall budget. However, some expenses may be incurred when coordinating care with other health providers in rural or health service shortage areas.


2. Health Analytics Lead to Isolation of Trends and Preventative Measures.

The proverbial mountain of data collected leads to a few problems for your organization. How do you manage and gain insight from the information? This is where health care analytics come into play. Health care analytics are similar to analytics used by major businesses, explains an MIT Sloan Management Review.

Information gathering and analysis results in the isolation of trends and causalities for datasets. In other words, prevalence information and demand for your organization’s services can be more clearly defined. This allows for better forecasting of budgets and appropriate requisitions for funding assistance from government agencies. Meanwhile, it can lead to improvements throughout your organization, which may include the following:

  • Better response to changing demands on available supplies for providing services.
  • Changes to staff numbers, ranging from wages to the actual number of employees.
  • Illness rates in specific regions, which may be required for requesting additional funds.
  • Overall performance tracking and accountability of staff members.

3. Electronic Health Record Auditing Reduces Costs.

Another key way IDD executives can make data-driven decisions with software is by focusing on electronic health records and audits. An audit does not necessarily imply that a problem exists. It is simply a means of ensuring accuracy and completion of required documentation. With respect to long-term care of individuals with developmental disabilities, having the appropriate documentation in place is essential to maintaining health care coverage.

Auditing tools can reveal instances of double billing, inconsistent coding of procedures, therapies or interventions, as well as undeleted or unremoved medications on an individual’s health record, or other issues. In a sense, the goal of an audit is to increase accountability and reduce spending, and an audit’s results can be used to implement new training for performance strategies among your staff.


4. Mobile Tech and Dashboards Enable Immediate Identification of Possible Issues.

Mobile tech is among the simplest ways to think about how software empowers data-driven decision making in your organization. App-based telemedicine can reduce overall operating costs, but mobile technology can go further by giving you or your employees the opportunity to perform duties remotely. But how does this translate to better decision making?

If you can access the information gathered and analyzed from all app-based interactions among staff members, persons served and third-party care providers, you can easily review key performance indicators for your organization. Since the information is updated automatically through dashboard tools, you would no longer have to wait for weekly reports. Ultimately, you can be more responsive to the real-time demands within your organization.


5. Feedback From Staff and Persons Served Improves Performance Standards.

Meeting the expectations of those you serve and managing your staff takes time and energy. However, the scope of your services, including expanded geographic areas of service, can make performance management and oversight difficult. Meanwhile, you still need to understand how changes you make impact the abilities of your staff members to provide superior care.

In other words, you need to obtain feedback, which can be provided by today’s software platforms. Rather than working with IMAP email servers, you could use a system to report and follow up with complaints. Additionally, the system enables performance management, and if necessary, you can use some platforms to conduct training remotely, eliminating scheduling conflicts and in-office expenses.


What Does It Mean for Your Organization?

Your organization has a grand opportunity to become a leader in intellectual disability services through providing services to more people, across great distances and with fewer resources. While the role of an executive is challenging, it is far from impossible with the assistance of today’s software platforms, enabling you to make data-driven decisions in real time. However, you need to take the first step toward implementing one or more of these solutions.

Jason Vanover

Working in health care since 2005, Jason's body of experience encompasses dozens of care settings, including Senior care, psychiatric facilities, nonprofit health service centers, group homes for those with developmental disabilities and beyond. Jason understands the need to tailor his skills to each setting to encourage the best treatment outcomes and promote an inclusive, healing environment.

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