Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE:BKD) has gone wireless in its Internet capabilities for residents, staff and guests across its portfolio with plans to expand into Emeritus properties post-merger, according to InformationWeek HealthCare.
Everything from ordering meals and hair appointments to monitoring physical therapy and electronic health records (EHRs) will be available online to those living and working under a Brookdale community roof, the article notes.
The largest senior living provider in the nation began framing its wireless and mobile strategy in 2009, according to Brookdale’s Senior Director of Infrastructure Chris Fadrowski, who was cited in the article.
“We wanted to make sure our people were mobile, and the apps we were looking at wouldn’t tie people to a computer in a hallway somewhere. People who are mobile provide a much better level of care,” said Fadrowski in the article. “We felt the accuracy needed to be there, and we needed to get info uploaded into our servers or into an app in the cloud. Doing it real-time makes it more accurate and much more timely.”
For its wireless services, Brookdale chose Aerohive Networks’ “controller-less infrastructure,” as it delivered significant cost savings, according to Fadrowski.
“It saved us a significant amount up front and recurring costs,” he said. “You don’t have to do maintenance on all the controllers or the WAC [wireless access controllers] behind them.”
The company would have been spending upwards of a “couple of millions of dollars,” Fadrowski said, to implement non-wireless technology at 500 locations.
“With a controller-based infrastructure, if you lose the controller, everything behind it goes down,” he said. “Controllers fail. WACs fail. We didn’t want to buy two to get the redundancy.”
Resident-facing technologies Brookdale implements in a number of its communities include a variety of platforms aiming to improve the quality of residents’ lives and health.
Featured tech includes ConnectedLiving—the Facebook-like social media platform where residents can keep in touch with their families living offsite, as well as room keys equipped with wireless point-of-sale system technology that enables residents to pay for meals or haircuts.
“Wireless is going to become the de facto standard,” Fadrowski said. “It’s the way it seems to be going. It makes my life easier, and it keeps our costs down.”
Written by Jason Oliva