A long-term care (LTC) community plays host to residents, clinicians and, at times, family members, and with that variety comes a potentially dizzying array of technological considerations ranging from nurse call systems to video surveillance.
But there are some distinctive trends in the LTC space for tech and devices, according to a Tuesday webinar from Direct Supply that covered the changing dynamics of technology in the LTC space.
By honing in on the trends and solutions that are best suited for their communities, LTC operators can set themselves up for success in a realm that has many senior living companies worried. Statistics cited in the webinar indicated that 83% of senior living corporations believe they have underinvested in technology; that same proportion also indicated they believe they will either be acquired by a more technologically advanced entity or face bankruptcy.
They also have to contend with more than just their competitors on the technological front.
“Your business use is not the only thing that’s taxing your Wi-Fi and internet connectivity,” said James Jansen, a product manager at Direct Supply, which provides equipment, e-commerce, and service solutions for senior living. “67% of seniors are accustomed to high-speed internet when they’re coming into your community, so the need is there. They’re demanding it.”
Trends In Senior Tech
The webinar identified four major trends in senior living technology:
1. Enhanced security through such mechanisms as electronic access control, video surveillance and wireless locks
2. Wireless connectivity
3. Conducting community and resident engagement, among other processes, digitally
4. The presence of emerging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and “smart building” solutions.
Some of those technologies have already made headlines in several different industries. In senior living, the IoT is manifesting in such devices as vital sign monitors and passive sensors that can monitor resident movement, heart rate, and sleep patterns. Though AI is still in early stages, learning and predictive algorithms could help predict diagnoses as more and more health care data becomes available from electronic medical records (EMRs) and sensors.
Wireless locks in SNFs would track with some of what’s found in the hospitality sector, said John Rydzewski, senior director of technology program development at Direct Supply who co-presented the webinar with Jansen.
“What’s happening in the consumer space is really starting to impact what’s happening in the senior living space,” he observed.
Written by Maggie Flynn