PointClickCare, CDC Partnership Aims to Use Data to Gain Perspective on the Pandemic

Large data sets related to skilled nursing over long periods of time are vital to government entities at this point in the pandemic — the same data can also inform an industry changed by the patient-driven payment model (PDPM), in terms of what therapies are working for residents.

Jason Menges, vice president of national accounts at cloud-based healthcare software company PointClickCare, said software like its Lighthouse platform offers government entities insight into different therapies used along with the possibility of catching trends in infection control and prevention.

Menges sees the skilled nursing industry as “fertile ground” for research involving large data sets, given the industry’s documentation practices stemming from highly-regulated requirements. Other aging services industries like assisted living are still working toward getting everything automated and digitized, Menges added.

PointClickCare last week announced it has partnered with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide “key insights” into the pandemic’s effect on long-term care facilities.

“Fortunately for us, we have the scale to be able to do this in a way that is scientifically meaningful, right, because we’re at 70% market share [in the skilled nursing arena],” said Menges. “At this point in time, that’s something that’s very unique and the CDC saw that.”

The CDC will use Lighthouse de-identified patient data from residents in long-term care and post-acute care centers including disease patterns, disease progression and health outcomes.

The partnership fits in with the Biden administration’s $500 million federal funding initiative for infection control “strike teams,” designed to help nursing homes with “known or suspected COVID-19 outbreaks,” according to a September statement issued by the CDC.

“They’ll have a very substantial data set on each therapeutic area,” explained Menges. “Any disease area in particular, [the CDC will] be able to look at the efficacy of the treatments, and actually get true outcomes out of the data set.”

PointClickCare was actually providing the data to the CDC for free during more than six months of the pandemic, Menges said, adding that the CDC was one of PointClickCare’s “primary targets” for contracts to use Lighthouse data moving forward.

“One of the things that was most obvious was that we had an extremely large dataset with hundreds of thousands of patients, and we could provide that data to different government agencies,” said Menges. “They’re interested in continuing to keep the data set for research on COVID, but it also helped them realize that they literally have all the different therapeutic areas in the data set as well.”

Menges pointed to the longevity of the data, and the effort it takes to de-identify residents in the data, makes the platform appealing to the CDC as well.

“Residents reside in a facility for, you know, months or years, they have a very long record that really can help assess whether or not the therapeutic approach is working,” added Menges.

In order to have a data set that can be valuable to an entity like the CDC, it has to comply with rules to protect patient privacy and also be structured in a way that is conducive to streamlined research, Menges said.

“Some people think you can collect the data and just give it over, but it’s very complicated. It took us, you know, 24 months to build out and so fortunately we were turnkey at that point and could supply them a data set that could be analyzed and researched in a very quick fashion,” explained Menges.

CDC will be able to track clinical guidelines uptake, treatments and interventions through Lighthouse data.

Across all of its platforms, PointClickCare has access to two decades of patient data in long-term care and post-acute care; more than 21,000 providers and 1,300 hospitals use the company’s software.

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