Looking back on 2012 senior-care related technology news, the biggest trends have to do with a federally-backed shift to electronic health and medical records and providers utilizing technology to improve their position in the care spectrum as hospitals start forming post-acute care relationships.
The continued emergence of remote monitoring and emergency alert systems that facilitate independent aging was another major theme, and many of our senior care technology reviews were studded with new platforms meant to aid aging in place in a variety of settings. Robots and senior-oriented social platforms also popped up frequently, and there were also a couple tech company mergers, acquisitions, entrances, and exits along the way.
Visit SHN’s Technology category to access the past year in Senior Care Technology Reviews, and peruse the articles below to refresh your memory on tech-related happenings in the industry this past year.
Tech company Healthsense talks about how its remote monitoring and emergency alert products (and other companies’ similar offerings) can help reduce care costs and maintain occupancy in senior living communities.
The opportunities afforded by technology allow administrators to provide services in senior housing that can’t be done in peoples’ homes, and it can make providers more productive and efficient in the way they conduct business.
Similar to the storyline of Robot & Frank, a 2012 movie about a retiree’s relationship with a robot programmed to look after him and help him remain independently at home, a recent study suggests that acceptance of robots is growing—albeit not substantially—among older adults.
Technology is often touted as a way to help seniors remain in their current setting, whether it’s home or even an independent or assisted living apartment, but sometimes it can be a delicate balance to keep various monitoring platforms from being overly or unnecessarily invasive.
Senior living providers should consider several factors when choosing a technology vendor for their community in light of recent vendor exits from the senior care space.
The combination of a wireless FIOS platform and monitoring and response systems can help communities provide a higher quality of care that enables aging in place while improving staff productivity and more efficient use of time. This article looks specifically at a Virginia CCRC that recently installed Verizon FiOS and Healthsense technology.
An Intel-GE Care Innovations program used in an Indiana health system study on preventing avoidable rehospitalizations contributed to achieving a 75% reduction in the number of readmissions among participating seniors.
A Deloitte study showed that half of seniors and 57% of boomers are open to the idea of using remote health monitoring technology, but fewer favor the concept of applications that provide medication reminders.
Loneliness comes with killer side effects for some aging-in-place seniors, but certain technologies geared toward social engagement may provide an antidote.
Telemonitoring did not result in fewer hospitalizations or emergency department visits among older adults participating in a telemonitoring study conducted by multiple healthcare professionals.
Despite the study mentioned above which concluded telemonitoring doesn’t reduce hospitalizations or ER visits among older adults, other studies have concluded it can increase the effectiveness of medication and safety in their administration.
Social Media and the Internet
The Pew Research Center released a survey revealing that a record number of seniors are online, and are likely to continue using web-based products such as email and search engines.
A white paper from LCS talks about the growing need for senior living communities to use the Internet and social media platforms to communicate with an older population that’s increasingly tech-savvy.
A consumer resource site suggests senior living providers may want to consider Facebook as a marketing platform considering Pew Research Center studies showing the spreading use of the Internet, online search engines, and social networks among seniors.
Following the “Facebook as New Frontier for Marketing” article, other market researchers cautioned that while social media can be used as an effective marketing tool to boomers and other older demographics, it shouldn’t necessarily replace other tried-and-true avenues such as television ads.
On the Record
Louis Burns tells SHN about his company’s plans to “double-down” on senior care-oriented product offerings and his vision for technology’s eventual widespread acceptance as a way to deliver care.
Kian Saneii talks about the growing presence of technology in many seniors’ lives and how his company is forming strategic partnerships that can help senior care providers better manage resident care.
While technology can’t be considered a “silver bullet” for what’s projected to be a shortage in senior care staffing, its continued development and adoption can be expected, especially when it comes to electronic health records and telehealth, says Majd Alwan.
EMRs, EHRs, and Healthcare Data
Senior living providers are facing a mounting danger of losing or compromising protected health information—for both employees and residents—and some are turning to cyber insurance for protection against fraud and abuse.
Assisted living providers can help increase their attractiveness as a post-acute care partner to hospitals by using electronic records and tracking data and outcomes on residents, especially in relation to those that have been hospitalized.
Implementing EHRs, as with any new system, can come with a lot of baggage and maybe even unintended consequences resulting from unfamiliarity. However, to maximize the benefits of paperless systems, it’s a good idea to properly prep and train staff so they’re ready once the new system goes live.
A variety of companies have created innovative monitoring systems that are being implemented in senior living communities across the nation, but increased knowledge of residents’ health information and data is closely followed by increased responsibility and liability, and not all providers are equipped to handle it.