Improve Quality Standards with Business Intelligence

How data analysis can prevent Immediate Jeopardy

By Jindou Lee

Facilities tasked with caring for seniors are held to high standards, and for good reason. This means that any senior living center such as a nursing home, hospice or assisted living community found to be out of compliance with Medicare or Medicaid regulations risks losing its government funding, its reputation and the trust of its residents by causing a state of “Immediate Jeopardy.”

Immediate Jeopardy is a state declared by government inspectors upon discovering that a senior living center’s noncompliance poses a risk of “injury, harm, impairment or death to the resident.” Being declared the cause of such unacceptable risk is a blow no facility can easily endure and a black mark that can be expensive to rectify.

Fortunately, our interconnected, digital world already has the tools to help organizations of all sorts recognize trends both worldwide and internally and plan out the best ways to maximize efficiency and avoid pitfalls like Immediate Jeopardy. This new tool is called Business Intelligence (BI) and it’s reshaping best practices everywhere, including in the senior living industry.

To avoid Immediate Jeopardy, senior living decision-makers must cross the line from guessing what they ought to do to knowing the next step. The best way to know is to gather and analyze data.

What is BI?

Gartner, a major research firm that provides technology-related insight, defines BI as an “umbrella term that includes the applications, infrastructure and tools, and best practices that enable access to and analysis of information to improve and optimize decisions and performance.” BI creates real visibility into operations to help leaders make decisions based on actual data, not on hunches or instinct. This is especially vital if decision-makers oversee multiple locations and can’t be onsite at all times.

BI helps leaders determine whether errors are isolated, recurring or widespread by providing instant analysis of data captured across every facility. Leaders can immediately identify problem facilities or specific staff and evaluate whether medication mistakes are a trend or isolated incidents. A mobile inspection solution with BI helps prioritize the most critical issues, providing real-time insights by hourly, daily, weekly, monthly and yearly timeframes. With a suitable BI solution, you can look across hundreds of facilities at once and identify the most important issues globally.

Implementing BI for Senior Living

Execution is always more challenging than developing a strategy, but BI software empowers managers to make data-driven decisions for maintaining compliance the moment inspection data comes in. Rather than letting valuable data gather dust in a file cabinet or languish in a spreadsheet, BI offers the visibility needed to put data to work and immediately execute fixes and achieve key performance indicators for compliance — addressing compliance issues as they arise.

To be effective, regular inspections must yield actionable insights that empower leaders to streamline operations. This is where organizations in healthcare and beyond commonly find themselves snared.

Management might already be meticulously tracking everything from cleanliness to medication administration. But in an Immediate Jeopardy emergency, aligning action with strategy is critical and only possible if data is visualized clearly, in real time and includes the statistical functions to identify trends. Inspection platforms lacking BI impede operations because they cannot provide real-time, actionable data, and this lack of visibility greatly raises the risk of Immediate Jeopardy.

To provide maximum utility and flexibility, BI in the senior living industry needs to:

  • Aggregate data across multiple locations in real time
  • Monitor quality standards, staff performance, and policy compliance
  • Identify global trends over time or across locations that could trigger Immediate Jeopardy declarations
  • Create an actionable report that red-flags problems

In Becker’s Hospital Review, Victoria May Fennel advises healthcare operators to “use your data wisely. Take the data you’ve collected from incidents, complaints, infection surveillance, satisfaction surveys, performance measures, self-assessment worksheets and mock surveys, and analyze them for patterns and trends. But analysis isn’t the endpoint — take action based on your data to improve performance and consistency.”

By integrating the all-purpose modern tool of BI, senior living decision-makers can improve performance across the board and avoid major blows like declarations of Immediate Jeopardy.


Jindou Lee is CEO of HappyCo, a San Francisco-based software company that builds mobile and cloud applications for enterprise workforces to run their operations in real time.