McKnight’s Articles

How good does your data need to be?

It’s a loaded question: How good does your data need to be?

If we’re honest with ourselves, we must admit that we’re not perfect. Nor are the systems we create to help minimize error perfect; therefore, how could our data be? Technology dramatically helps us improve the quality of our data, but there are no guarantees there either.

A recent Harvard Business Review publication shared that only 3% of companies’ data meets basic quality standards. Respondents were referring to the data upon which they rely on for accurate business decisions and effective workflow.

In our world of post-acute care delivery, one way the question of data accuracy translates is how we assess the resident and create a care plan. It then extends to what systems we put in place to deliver that care, how we evaluate its effectiveness, and ultimately communicate that with the outside world.

By outside world, I’m referring to families, regulators, fiscal intermediaries, REITs, payers, advocates, referring organizations and downstream care providers, to name a few. Let’s call them stakeholders — I like that word.

Most skilled nursing facilities have a data quality strategy in place. It’s required. But fewer have systems that ensure that the strategy is working. Sure, we have triple-check, and even quadruple-check; most of these strategies rely on key individuals in the SNF doing the “right thing,” or assurances from software vendors’ sales and marketing teams. Is that enough?

It is not.

Continue reading Steven Littlehale’s guest column on