Five ways technology is transforming senior living – Becker’s Hospital Review

COVID-19 exposed vulnerabilities in senior living operating models and ravaged facilities, acting as a catalyst for new technologies and innovations that are being adopted across the industry at warp speed. 

Before the pandemic, the senior living industry was growing with market cap for senior housing of $475 billion. Skilled nursing facilities operated at tight margin. 

2020 changed everything, impacting not only operations, but forcing operators to face intense scrutiny as the media and public sought to understand the virus’ devastating effects on senior care facilities. 

The urgent need for greater visibility into operating gaps, and more efficient management software accelerated the emergence of systems to improve operations, quality care, and safeguard against infection.  

Meanwhile the staffing shortage grows and society ages. The U.S. will see a marked increase middle and low-income citizens over 75.  

Known as the “Silver Tsunami”, the oncoming increase in demand for senior care will come with higher expectations around technology and visibility into data, accessibility, and quality of care.

Top Technology Trends

Similar to how the industry seemingly adopted telehealth overnight in response to COVID-19, technology adoption to address challenges in senior care is moving at warp speed, setting the stage for an industry-wide transformation that, quite frankly, is already taking place. Health care organizations are facing their biggest challenges head on with technologies that improve quality care, employee communication, and integrate disjointed functions.

Here are some of the biggest trends senior care operators are embracing to drive their organizations forward in 2021 and transform senior living as whole. 

Time to kick manual paper-based process to the curb.

All signs point to digital transformation as the answer to the most pressing challenges facing the post-acute care and senior living industry in 2021. In fact, according to Mckinsey, 92% of companies expect to adopt digital technologies, and that was before COVID-19. Operators who haven’t already taken the first step towards digital can no longer afford to stay timid. This means finding the right technology partner with software that allows you to automate and optimize everything from scheduling to compliance reporting and tracking time and attendance at the click of a button. 

Technology that hits the sweet spot of quality care and cost reduction.

Spiraling profit margins are forcing operators to search for new ways to cut costs without compromising resident care or the employee experience.  Smart operators are investing in automated solutions that harness all the real-time data they need to make the best strategic decisions for their organization in one place: from preventing staffing gaps, to mitigating overtime, instant reporting, tracking time and attendance, and monitoring performance. 

Mobile takes center stage against employee turnover.

With the complications of a multi-generational workforce, COVID-19 protocols, the addition of more part-time staff, and greater regulation, the need to simplify the work environment and make it easy to engage is paramount for workers, management and residents. As our world grows even more mobile and remote, that means providing staff the ability to access schedules pay stubs, personal information on the go, as well as swap shifts, message managers, and request time off. This flexibility and accessibility not only reduce staff churn through increased engagement but alleviates managers of time-consuming tasks, like manually updating schedules, for more important priorities: your residents. 

Keeping up with compliance.

COVID-19 has created a new layer of evolving and changing complexity to an already evolving and changing regulatory industry. Keeping up with compliance is no longer humanly possible—and operators looking to get out of the compliance hamster wheel are investing in programs that stay up to date on the numerous reporting requirements, and the data collection and other processes and procedures being used to satisfy those requirements. These operators know that integrating compliance tracking and reporting into their workforce management software is vital to mitigating wasted dollars for false or inaccurate reporting, and it’s not worth risking. 

Creating a ladder to success

Operators are not the only ones who need to embrace digital—as the industry continues to get smarter about leveraging technology, employees are going to be the next group to struggle with the impact of digital on their day-to-day lives.  To get ahead of this, operators are implementing a culture of continuous talent management in order to build an infrastructure where they can retrain and potentially redeploy talent across the organization. Not only does this help improve employee performance, drive productivity, and increase engagement, but it creates a workforce capable of helping your organization thrive in a digital era.

For a deeper dive on the trends that are transforming senior care in 2021, download our recent industry report or join us for our upcoming webinar, How to Adapt in a Post-COVID World: A Practical Guide for Senior Care Operators.

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For a deeper dive on the trends that are transforming senior care in 2021, download our recent industry report or join us for our upcoming webinar, How to Adapt in a Post-COVID World: A Practical Guide for Senior Care Operators.


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