Omega Healthcare Investors (NYSE: OHI) on Friday announced the acquisition of Connected Living, a move that will bring an in-house tech option for the real estate investment trust’s (REIT) senior housing and care tenants.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed, though Omega senior vice president of corporate strategy and investor relations Matthew Gourmand in a statement described the transaction as “a modest investment given the value it can provide.”
Omega — a landlord for both skilled nursing facilities and senior living communities — pointed to the COVID-19 pandemic as a key driver behind the decision to pick up a tech provider.
“One of the biggest challenges for operators throughout this crisis is how they could safely facilitate the connection between residents and their loved ones,” Gourmand said. “We saw in Connected Living an opportunity to help operators address this challenge, enhance the resident experience, and differentiate the offering of their facilities.”
The Quincy, Mass.-based Connected Living offers a variety of tech services for senior living providers, including mobile apps, in-room television systems, resident engagement platforms, and video communication setups.
While hotel-style tech amenities have historically been the domain of lower-acuity, private-pay senior communities, Connected Living CEO Sarah Hoit sees potential for skilled nursing facilities to benefit from the partnership.
“In higher acuity or memory care settings where residents may be less able to engage directly with the technology, family members can use the technology to keep up to date on the daily schedule of their loved ones and be involved in their lives, even if they live far away,” Hoit said.
As a wholly owned subsidiary of the Hunt Valley, Md.-based Omega, Connected Living will remain responsible for its own business development efforts, and tenants with existing tech platforms will not be obligated to switch.
“The decision to engage the services of Connected Living will be solely that of our operators,” Gourmand said. “However, we have made our operators aware of the services Connected Living provides and we have received a significant amount of interest across our portfolio.”
The COVID-19 crisis in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities has led to a bumper crop of potential tech solutions to the problem of social isolation; the federal government, for instance, offered grants to nursing home operators for the purchase of tablets and other hardware to facilitate video visits amid ongoing lockdowns.
Increased telehealth coverage for seniors in institutional care settings will also likely emerge as a lasting legacy of COVID-19, with industry leaders and policymakers predicting that at least some of the emergency telehealth flexibilities granted to operators during the crisis will become permanent benefits.
Tim Regan contributed reporting to this story.