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Using data to improve nursing home clinical care

Picture of Dr. Partha Bhattacharyya
Partha BHATTACHARYYA,
Program Director,
Division of Behavioral and Social Research (DBSR)
.
Ama Donkor
Ama DONKOR,
Health Specialist,
Division of Behavioral and Social Research (DBSR)
.

We are excited to be back on the blog beat to share our newest data resource for the research community! We’ve previously written about how the IMPACT Collaboratory supports embedded pragmatic clinical trials (ePCTs) and demonstration projects to improve the well-being of persons living with dementia and their caregivers.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, IMPACT Collaboratory researchers developed data sharing and reporting systems to track the effects of the COVID-19 vaccines administered to frail older adults, including people living with dementia. These efforts to strengthen future collaborative and innovative ePCTs have since grown into a new resource full of research opportunities for NIA-funded scientists: the Long-Term Care (LTC) Data Cooperative.

Expanding to evaluate clinical care

Through its LTC Data Cooperative, NIA aims to improve the quality of care in skilled nursing facilities by building one of the largest data collections ever assembled from U.S. nursing homes and their residents. The primary goal — through observational studies or pragmatic randomized trials — is to test the impact of treatments and other interventions intended to better the lives of nursing home residents.

Data Cooperative researchers are using nursing home residents’ privacy-protected electronic medical records (EMRs) that can also be linked to Medicare claims data. The Data Cooperative’s comprehensive database is helping researchers generate real-world evidence on the effectiveness of different treatments and care practices for older adults, individuals with disabilities, and people living with dementia in nursing homes.

For nursing home residents who are Medicare beneficiaries, this readily accessible EMR data will link with both historical and future Medicare claims data from all other medical care providers. This data set can help pragmatic trial researchers reduce data collection, complex file merging, and the relevant costs, particularly for data such as vital signs, physician orders, and medication administration.

Additionally, the Data Cooperative is supporting public health surveillance by streamlining feedback reports to skilled nursing facilities to assist with care coordination. It also aids the conduct of randomized controlled trials in nursing homes willing to participate in treatment effectiveness studies by boosting the assembly of uniform outcome data from EMRs and long-term follow-up from Medicare data.

Researchers who are planning a trial may want to consider asking nursing home administrators with whom they are working to join the Data Cooperative if they have not already done so. There is no cost to nursing homes to join.

Connect to help us increase the IMPACT

We need your help to grow the use of the LTC Data Cooperative! To get started, visit the LTC Data Cooperative website or email LTCDataCooperative@AHCA.org. The IMPACT Collaboratory website provides additional information about its many other resources and opportunities for engagement, including pilot funding opportunities, grand rounds/podcasts, knowledge repositories, and more.

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