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IDD Industry Trends to Watch in 2024

From AI to EVV and everything in between, a look at the trends that will shape the IDD industry in the coming year.

As we step into 2024, the disability services landscape is undergoing significant shifts. The way we support and empower individuals with disabilities is getting a major upgrade, thanks to some exciting trends taking center stage. 

 

Tech and data are teaming up to revolutionize care, from disability services software that provides real, meaningful insights to the use of AI to supercharge outcomes.  

 

But that’s not all! There’s a palpable buzz around community integration and employment, nudging us away from old ways of doing things toward more inclusive, fulfilling experiences. 

 

Here’s a closer look at the trends our team of disability services experts predict will shape the industry in the year ahead:  

1. Providers will transition from paper to digital documentation.

2024 will be remembered as the year providers wave goodbye to traditional paper-based documentation. We’re seeing a major shift away from binders and spreadsheets towards digital documentation systems, especially Electronic Health Records (EHRs). So, what’s behind this shift?  

 

For starters, agencies are recognizing the need for more holistic data tracking to improve care quality. The focus is on not just recording billable hours, but understanding the who, what, why, and how of services provided. Who are we serving? Where are people spending their time? This nuanced understanding spans various factors and exceeds the limits of paper documentation.  

 

Beyond the quest for quality improvement, we’re also seeing a growing trend of agencies being expected to provide payers with in-depth, comprehensive accounts of the support provided. Like providers, states and funders are looking to use data to ensure we are not only serving people, but serving them well.  

2. Data will speed the shift toward high-quality community engagement. 

Speaking of quality, 2024 will see a push for better integration of individuals into their communities, emphasizing meaningful activities over passive participation in large groups or isolated settings. This trend aligns with the move away from traditional day services or residential facilities, in favor of community involvement or employment opportunities.  

 

Once again, data will play an outsized role in ensuring that we are providing personalized and impactful support in community settings. Which leads us to our next trend: electronic visit verification (EVV).  

3. Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) data will be used to drive quality improvements..

When we first reported on this trend back in 2022, the focus was on how providers would capture data for electronic visit verification (EVV). “Providers have spent the past year trying to figure out how to clock in and out, correct timesheet errors, and submit data to their EVV aggregator,” we wrote. “And as states and providers continue to work out the bugs, we expect it’s still going to be chaos nationwide.“ 

 

Today, there’s a growing expectation for agencies to not only collect EVV data but also report and utilize it for decision-making purposes. Similar to the shift to fee-for-service models in some states, EVV data will become a pivotal factor in ensuring that individuals are receiving high-quality services.  

 

More specifically, EVV data can be analyzed to gain insights into service patterns, identify areas for improved efficiency, and make informed decisions to enhance the overall quality of care and community integration. This marks a significant evolution from the initial chaos to a more structured and purposeful use of EVV data within the disability services landscape.

4. Artificial intelligence will lead to enhanced outcomes.

By now, you’ve most likely heard about ChatGPT. The viral AI chatbot made waves in 2023 for its uncanny ability to answer questions, summarize documents, or even write college admissions essays. 

 

That aside, one of the most exciting developments in 2024 will be the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to improve service delivery. The possibilities are endless, but a few ways a few ways AI is poised to revolutionize service delivery include: 

 

  • Generating ideas for employment activities 
  • Drafting and refining grant proposals 
  • Streamlining internal processes, such as data entry and QA/QC 
  • Summarizing and analyzing data, especially unstructured data like narrative documentation and consumer feedback  

5. It’s time to develop a strong talent pipeline.

As we noted last year, “we’re seeing a changing of the guard at IDD agencies and across the workforce with older executives retiring and younger people stepping in to fill those roles.” 

 

This is why, in 2024, it’s going to be crucial for agencies to develop their talent pipelines. This means carving out clear paths for DSPs to level up their careers within the organization, becoming support coordinators, managers, and even agency executives. It also means offering training and mentorship opportunities to equip emerging leaders with the necessary skills and knowledge. Encouraging a culture of continuous learning and professional development will not only enhance the leadership capabilities of existing employees, but also keep talented people from walking out the door.  

Stay tuned

Collectively, these trends reflect a shift toward a more data-centric and quality-focused approach within the disability services industry.  

 

As we step into the New Year, we’ll be keeping a close watch on the evolution of these exciting trends. You can stay informed on these developments (and more!) by subscribing to our blog for regular updates.  

 

Now, we turn the spotlight to you: What’s on your trend forecast for the upcoming year? Are there new ideas or changes you’re contemplating for 2024? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or LinkedIn! 

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