Technology is taking on a more active role across the healthcare space, and senior care is no exception. From electronic health record (EHR) platforms to smart glasses to wearable devices, the latest technologies are being implemented across the senior care market. By leveraging innovative technologies, senior living operators benefit from: better and more efficient care, improved staff engagement, and – most importantly – enhanced resident and family experiences. Having the right tools in place enables senior living operators to be better positioned to manage the health of their business and their residents.
The goal for any care provider is offer the best care and quality service to its residents. Here are some of the ways that senior living operators are using technology to enhance the resident and family experience.
- More Informed Residents and Families
Senior living operators know that when a resident and their family tours your community, they’re looking at two or three other communities as well. As a former operator who has conducted many tours, one of the first things I’d talk about is how we’re using technology to track all the things they care about, such as the services that they will receive each month. Not having the ability to document, manage, and share insights on the services provided could hinder your chance of becoming the community of choice.
- Increased Mobility for Team Members
Senior living communities strive to provide a home-like environment, rather than a clinical institutional environment with nurses’ stations. One way to introduce technology is by equipping staff with mobile devices. Being mobile means that care teams can spend more time with residents, documenting as they go, instead of having to log information on a desktop computer at the end of each shift. Let’s put it this way; the new generation expects it. Young people are accustomed to managing their lives around technology, and they will be better able to engage with your residents using mobile technology.
- More Efficient Care Transitions
We are already seeing operators using technology to engage residents long before they move in. Senior care communities are getting ahead of the curve with in-home care programs; equipping prospective residents who still live independently with technology, such as iPads. These tablets come preloaded with software, such as medication reminders or “face to face” check-ins. By helping these individuals remain independent for as long as possible, communities are building the relationship in advance. Then, when the individual is ready to move into a senior living community, they’ll gravitate to the one they have an existing relationship with.
- Better Service Capture and Documentation
Many senior living communities are still using paper workflows to manage their core functions and processes, which creates multiple points of input that need to be logged separately. Others may have information buried in multiple systems that don’t talk to each other. All this makes it harder to capture, track, and ensure that services (especially “unscheduled services”) are recorded properly. We now have technology that will automatically update any changes across-the-board, as well as tightly integrate services with billing records. Not only is this good for the health of the business, but residents and families also have a clearer understanding of the services and billing process, which makes for a happier and healthier customer.
- Staying Connected
Today, a community without Wi-Fi access is rare. It’s becoming increasingly important for residents to stay connected with their families, as well as for the families to stay apprised of the care and services their loved ones are receiving. Additionally, there is an exciting assortment of creative resident engagement tools, as well as family portals, that are becoming more popular. Residents and their families are looking for, and wanting to, stay connected with each other and with the care team.