February 11, 2021

5 key questions for senior living data projects

Data projects can be messy, time-consuming, and frustrating. Learn the 5 key questions to ensure that any senior data project is a success

Welcome to our Blog series, “Unlocking the value of data in senior living!” In the first installment, we’re going to tackle the key questions that determine success for any data integration project. 

Before we begin, allow me to introduce myself! I’m the CEO and co-founder of Bateau, a software start-up that builds technology for senior living. Prior to starting Bateau, I spent 7 years at Palantir working on data integration projects with Fortune 500 companies in banking, pharmaceuticals, and energy. I’m deeply familiar with the challenges of disparate, messy data and I’ve also seen firsthand what’s possible when you bring together data from different systems and empower everyone to see the full picture. 

The 5 questions you need to ask

If your goal is to see a more complete picture by bringing together information from different systems it’s important to think through what you want to achieve before you get started. The questions below are designed to help you avoid the messy, time-consuming, and frustrating challenges that often plague data integration projects. 

What questions do I want to ask and what datasets do I need to answer those questions? 

  • This is the key question: what are you trying to accomplish? For example, if your goal is to see whether missed meals are an early indicator of fall risk, you need to combine data on meal attendance with fall reports. 

Where is this data coming from?   

  • Once you know what data you need to answer your question(s), you need to confirm where the data is located and how to access it. This may involve spreadsheets, APIs, manual data entry or other inputs. 

Who should have access to this data?

  • You should consider both job function and compliance requirements here. Typically you want as many people as can safely have access 

When does this data get updated?

  • Every data source gets updated on its own cadence, so it’s important to consider that the most recent data in one system might be 2 hours old whereas in another system the most recent data might be 2 weeks old! This is particularly important if time is an important factor in your analysis or if you’re hoping to use data to make proactive decisions. 

How does this data need to be modified or altered to fit your goals?

  • It’s rare that data from different systems lines up perfectly. Most of the time, you’ll need to do some kind of adjustment (whether in the original system or afterwards in Excel or another tool) to get all your data ready to use

Up next in Part 2: the value of data integration

Now that we’ve covered the key questions to ask ahead of any data integration project, we’re ready to dive deeper and explore what’s possible with data integration. In recent years there has been a huge wave of innovation in software, wearables, and sensors that capture data on resident health and so we’re going to focus on using this data to identify opportunities to proactively improve care, have informed conversations with families, and more! 

Check out our website for more detail on what we’re doing with data at Bateau! 

Paul Jarvis
Paul is the CEO and Co-Founder of Bateau. Prior to Bateau he spent 7 years working on data integration projects at Palantir. In his free time he likes to mountain bike, eat food that's too spicy, and play with his cat.