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UCF Rankings Can Help Nursing Homes Improve Quality, Efficiency

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The collection contains more than 10 years of data and millions of records and ranks each facility based on quality and economic efficiency.

The new federal database, which the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced this week, will rank facilities on a five-star scale similar to the way hotels are ranked, and is expected to be ready by the end of the year. UCF's database can help nursing homes prepare for what consumers will find in the federal rating system.

"Our approach is to help nursing home administrators to improve performance in efficiency and quality," said Wan, who is also director of the doctoral program in Public Affairs and associate dean for research at the UCF College of Health and Public Affairs.

 "The key is that the recommendations for improvement are research based. These are factors that we know matter. It is not theory."

Nursing homes can get individualized prescriptions for improvement through UCF's massive and searchable database, housed at the Informatics Research Lab. Nursing home administrators can see how they rank based on a variety of data from nurse-resident ratios to economic indicators. 

The research team includes Assistant Professor Ning Jackie Zhang and Associate Professor Lynn Unruh. They have authored several journal articles based on the database and its analysis, most recently in the June 2008 edition of Health Services Research. In that study, they analyzed whether the payment system in place now has increased nursing home efficiency.

Wan has published extensively and has served on NIH committees. He has also been a consultant to government agencies in Kazakhstan, the Czech Republic, South Africa and South Korea as they work to establish graduate health services management education and research.

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