As demand for long-term services and supports rises, public agencies must turn to data for help, UMass Medical School expert urges

September 20, 2017

For public agencies across the country, tracking demand for home care and other long-term services and supports (LTSS) while also monitoring performance remains a significant challenge, says Martin Baker, MSc, of UMass Medical School.

Gathering crucial data from different state agencies can be a challenge, as can deciding where to invest scarce public tax dollars to meet the next wave of demand, said Baker, senior director of strategic growth and business development. And agency leaders must keep a close eye on the quality of the LTSS programs and services they are supporting.

With the number of people over 65 set to double, UMass Medical School’s TrendFinder LTSS data analytics platform is designed to help decision makers at public agencies meet the anticipated surge in demand.

“Many folks have asked me what impact has TrendFinder had on the public agencies you work with,” Baker said. “It’s really the basics; things like integrating cross agency data, creating information access at the desktop for key decision makers, and really improving budget and operational monitoring of programs.”

TrendFinder breaks down information silos that can hamper good decision making, collecting relevant data from an array of state agencies. Decision makers, in turn, can access the data in an easy-to-use dashboard on their desktop.

The information is often already out there. The issue is bringing it all together in a single, easy-to-use platform. “There is a wealth of data already being collected,” Baker says.

The platform also provides a vital support to agency leaders as they plan for future demand for LTSS. The data analytics platform leverages U.S. Census Bureau data to help project areas – from regions to different demographic groups - where additional staff and programs may be needed. Agency leaders can also carefully track costs and monitor program quality.

TrendFinder can be used to search for programs, time-periods and various subgroups while zeroing in on crucial metrics like cost per member and the number of people using various LTSS services. It can also produce home care quality reports to ensure that those in need of LTSS are routinely assessed for eligibility, screened for adverse results and receive the services they have been promised.

Consultants and experts with deep experience in the field of LTSS are one of TrendFinder’s core strengths. UMass Medical School experts work closely with agency decision makers to make the best use possible of the data analytics platform.

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