We recently sponsored a Seniors Housing Business webinar where our CEO Ryan Galea, alongside other industry experts, discussed the benefits and how-to’s of effective senior living technology management. Here’s our recap of that webinar: a three-step guide to building a streamlined tech stack.
1. Establish a Strategic Technology Plan Before Adopting New Systems
Finding the right technology for your community isn’t a walk in the park. For instance, let’s say you see a new platform at a trade show. It promises higher engagement, adoption, and satisfaction rates. It uses machine learning. And the sales reps share an ambitious product roadmap with dozens of updates around the corner. You’re sold on it and kickstart the buying process.
But what happens if your community’s infrastructure – say, the internet bandwidth – can’t run the system effectively? You’ll have locked yourself into a contract for a platform you can’t properly use. Fortunately a strategic technology plan helps you avoid these situations by detailing various aspects of tech use in your community, such as:
- Infrastructure, systems, and operations. What technology do you have in place today (landlines, tablets, computers, etc.)? Which operating systems are residents familiar with? Can your community’s wiring transmit the required energy for new systems?
- Culture. How do residents, staff, and families feel about the technology in your community? Do they use it? Like it? Do they want more?
- Governance. How are you ensuring the technology runs smoothly (e.g., installing updates, downloading firmware when necessary, etc.)? If you oversee multiple communities, how are you promoting technology use across those communities?
A strategic plan doesn’t just document your community’s current technology portfolio; it can also help you determine which platforms to adopt (and when). For example, your plan might include adding high-speed internet in Year One and adopting an engagement application in Year Two. Whatever your plan entails, the goal is to have each step build off each other.
2. Use Resident Data to Grow Satisfaction and Tech Adoption
The resident experience is critical to nearly every part of senior living, from the activities you schedule to the menu items you offer. Technology is no exception. If you want a technology system that works for every resident in your community, you need to listen to what those residents are saying – and pay attention to how they’re behaving.
Here are a few resident data examples and how each might inform your technology strategy:
- Activity participation rates have grown since your community began offering remote alternatives on a limited basis. We know that remote activity options help more residents maintain emotional, social, and physical wellness. If participation rates grow after you offer remote activities, that may be an opportunity to expand virtual activity offerings, with technology like in-room TVs and subscriptions to services like Spiro100.
- A survey you recently sent shows that half of your residents feel disconnected from each other. If your community doesn’t have an engagement platform, this may be a sign to start searching for one. If your community does have an engagement platform, this may be a sign that your residents haven’t been using it. Regardless, in this scenario, you’ll want to continue seeking feedback from residents, both on what’s happening and on your plans to increase engagement.
- More than 90 percent of your residents use your engagement portal every day. This is a great situation to be in – your residents are relying on your technology. The high usage rate could also mean your residents have an appetite for more. Remember, older adults expect to have technology in their senior living communities. So if you’ve been holding off on implementing that fleet of Echo Dots – until your residents are comfortable with your community platform – it may be time to get that ball rolling.
The broader takeaway: technology is pivotal to the resident experience – and residents’ experiences are key to determining which technology you deploy.
3. Consolidate and Integrate Your Tech Stack
When building out your community’s technology portfolio, it’s important that you consider how these systems operate with one another. Nobody wants disparate platforms – they create data silos, add extra work for staff, and make it harder for residents to adopt your tech.
A consolidated, integrated tech stack…
- Promotes operational efficiency. With fewer systems or operating systems to learn, staff members can more easily onboard onto your tech and establish best practices for daily tasks (scheduling events, checking attendance, uploading weekly menus, etc.).
- Cuts costs. Consolidation can help you optimize your budget by reducing subscriptions, support services, and ongoing maintenance fees for overlapping technologies.
- Enhances the resident experience. Something like an all-in-one platform can help your residents confidently add tech into their routines without the fear of needing to regularly learn new systems. Plus, this makes it easier for residents to get the most out of your tech and engage with their community, whether that’s with digital activity calendars or resident messaging hubs.
- Simplifies data management. Disparate platforms lead to data silos, which, in the best scenarios, require longer data entry and de-duplication processes. In the worst scenarios, staff loses valuable data. A consolidated, integrated tech stack makes data management a breeze – and helps you get a clearer read on what your residents want and enjoy.
How do you actually consolidate your tech stack? Here are some steps:
- Assess your current tech stack. Take inventory of all the platforms you’re using in your senior living community. (Think: community engagement apps, smart home devices, staff communication tools, and wellness trackers.)
- Evaluate effectiveness. Look at usage rates for each of your platforms. Ask staff, residents, and family what their experience is with the tech.
- Identify common features and integrations. This will help you identify any redundancies in your current tech stack. If you have, say, three platforms that offer communication tools, it may be worth trimming down to one.
- Consider scalability and customization. Find technologies that can meet and grow with your community’s needs – that offer interoperability with a wide range of platforms.
- Review costs and support services. Senior living leadership might be allocating more attention (read: funds) to senior living tech today, but that doesn’t mean your community can afford to pay for four versions of the same product. Look at membership costs, annual subscriptions, and any ad hoc maintenance fees for your tech.
- Streamline workflows and data management. Document existing processes with your tech. For example, chart how many steps it takes for residents to RSVP to a movie night on your engagement app. Or see how many windows staff must open to accurately collect attendance data.
Remember: this consolidation process is ongoing – it doesn’t end once you’ve streamlined workflows with current tech.
The Best Senior Living Technology Benefits Every Member of Your Community
A senior living tech stack offers clear benefits to your residents – organizations that use Icon saw a 20 percent rise in resident satisfaction. But an integrated system has far-reaching benefits. They also extend to your staff members, your residents’ families, and even prospective residents and their families.That’s why finding the right blend of technology is such an important task. It changes the lives of every person within your community. Interested in building an efficient senior living tech stack and in finding which platforms are right for you? Shoot us a message – or set up a demo!