The ENTOUCH Blog

12. 4. 2017

Applied Analytics, Smart Building Systems and Reducing the Flu in Senior Care Facilities Management

Analytics and smart building systems play a vital role in reducing disease transmission, especially during high-illness periods, like flu season.

Facility managers have an opportunity to revolutionize standard operations through new technology, including analytics and smart building solutions. While beneficial to all facilities managers, few industries are poised to reap greater rewards from analytics than the healthcare industry. As flu season returns, it is essential to think about the fundamental ways smart building systems are making senior housing facilities safer, improving resident outcomes and reduced disease transmission.

Why Is Flu Prevention Top of Mind Among Senior Care Facilities Managers Using Smart Building Systems?

The flu is responsible for countless illnesses and thousands of deaths annually, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Due to the nature of senior care, professionals have a higher risk of transmitting the contagious illness between residents. Moreover, the failing health of residents means ensuring infection control in senior care facilities is essential to preventing the spread of the disease. Thus, facilities managers must act to prevent the spread of contagions.

Since senior care facilities involve reverse-pressure rooms, air purifiers, and antimicrobial equipment, using analytics can extend the useful life of these critical assets.

How Does Facilities Management Affect Disease Transmission?

Effective facilities management controls and processes are integral in preventing the spread of the flu, as well as other contagious diseases. As explained by Bob Kehoe of Health Facilities Management, robust facilities control to monitor and manage the cleanliness of linens and resident care areas reduces the risk of contracting a hospital-acquired infection (HAI). For reference, when the flu is passed from one person to another within the hospital, it becomes a HAI. Therefore, preventing cross-contamination of dirty and clean linens and supplies can effectively reduce the risk of contracting the flu in a health facility. Since senior care facilities involve reverse-pressure rooms, air purifiers, and antimicrobial equipment, using analytics to manage these assets translates into a better understanding of disease transmission within facilities.

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Smart Building Systems and Tech in Action in Senior Care Facilities

The technology to purify air and safeguard against the flu is not new, explains Facility Executive, but using this information to identify airflow patterns with a facility, track cleanliness of patient care, and family areas are. In fact, healthcare building automation systems can help prevent employees from entering isolation rooms without the proper equipment, and sensors can be deployed to help reduce foot traffic in areas with a higher concentration of patients with airborne infections. Furthermore, analytics can use information about resident illnesses to help prepare for other epidemics too.

What Type of Analytics Are Beneficial in Senior Care?

The type of analytics deployed in healthcare includes descriptive analytics that provides insights into local disease epidemiology, predictive analytics that consider the average number of residents exhibiting flu-like symptoms and prescriptive analytics to help ensure the facility has the appropriate amount of beds available to treat those suffering. As flu season progresses, analytics may also be used to provide staff-to-resident ratios are necessary for the acuity of residents, and streamlining data from health facilities management systems to resident care systems will lead to fewer HAIs, better resident outcomes and lower costs for the facility, says Rebecca Vesely of Hospitals and Health Networks magazine.

Secure Disease and Quality Control Through ENTOUCH Now

The consequences of inadequate infection control protocols can range from temporary shutdowns of health facilities to unforgiving, unhindered spread of illnesses. The flu is only one of the diseases that will put health facilities to the test this year, and as seen over the last 12 years, flu prevalence does not appear to be slowing, despite more significant use of resources to prevent the flu. Fortunately, applied analytics in senior care facilities can efficiently identify risk factors contributing to the spread of the flu and help stop this annual illness from becoming a harbinger of death to even more people. Visit ENTOUCH online to find out more about the value of analytics in improving senior care facilities management today.

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