This article is sponsored by Philips. In this Voices interview, Senior Housing News sits down with Philips’ Solutions Leader, Home Health Care & Senior Living, Jason Broad, to learn about how Philips is taking health care technology to the Cloud, how its creating efficiencies for senior living operators, and is working toward the future of healthy communities for senior living residents.
Senior Housing News: Philips has a presence in many sectors. Can you describe senior living’s technology journey relative to some of those other health care settings where you’ve worked? Senior living is often called “slower to adopt.”
Jason Broad: I think that health care has made more progress in terms of interconnecting data, and turning that into intelligence. Health care, and especially payers, have been investing a lot within population health data aggregation and analytics. Turning those into care programs and intervention has a lot further to go, but they’re much more willing to pilot and to drive the possible change than what we currently see within senior living. I think that senior living has the right to be at the head of the table for this, but the effectiveness of that seat calls for resident data — particularly digital data — to share.
A key challenge is creating scale, putting in place interventions and measuring outcomes. It’s vastly easier to do that within a senior living setting than it is to do between disconnected providers in the home care world and other sectors.
In fact, we just had a delegation come back from the NIC Spring Conference and this was a big theme. Senior living organizations want to more effectively participate in the care provided to residents and they’ll get there by having digital health data.
When it comes to resident safety technology, what’s your advice for leaders who are looking into solutions?
We see a lot of providers getting themselves locked into a specific set of technology, which is going to make it more difficult for them to create the right efficiencies within operations later on. It’s important for them to look at the technology capability of the vendors and whether what they offer is future-proof. That means using open standards that will help facilitate a much more inclusive and connected set of data that can help drive care and operational efficiencies. Pushing it into the cloud allows for an even richer set of features and benefits that can span across the enterprise. Having a lot of on-premise, non-standard solutions across a large operator means it’s going to be very difficult to aggregate all the insights you have together, create analytics from it and be able to drive operational efficiency. Again, the digital health data you can capture and share will play a role in how well you can connect into health systems’ full continuum of care initiatives.
Tell us about the solutions that Philips is offering.
We are going to market with a solution called Philips Cares for Senior Living, which incorporates BlueBand wearable devices, for both residents and staff, connected to BlueHub receivers distributed throughout the community. It’s Bluetooth-enabled technology that pushes data information into the Philips Cloud to a software user interface giving operators a view into their entire facility, as well as across their enterprise for comparative analytics.
We use this next-generation technology to help our caregivers better manage care for residents. If someone falls, the fall is detected by the BlueBand. Or if a resident starts to walk outside of the bounds of where they shouldn’t be — for example, in memory care — the system sends an alert to the caregiver team on their smartphones in real-time.
Philips Cares for Senior Living requires participation from both residents and caregivers. How do organizations gain their buy-in?
From a technology perspective, we always try to understand what elements need to exist for both staff and residents to desire a solution instead of simply give consent. And we’re adding elements to provide more value for the user, so that they don’t feel like the system’s only function is to monitor them. For example, with the BlueBand, we’ve added a step counter. It’s great to see seniors coming up and asking caregivers, for example, “How many steps did I take today?”
One of the biggest priorities for us is having technology solutions that can pull the family into the resident’s care. We’ve developed the Family Dashboard that allows us to take a slice of the data, which is available to the operator, and make that available to the family. They can see how active their loved one is and whom they’re interacting with each day. This lets the family stay more connected. We have witnessed each of our community’s staff and residents naturally gravitate to wearing the BlueBand wearable, which is a testament to the value all parties are realizing with this technology.
In terms of your experience in Philips’ work across other industries, how do you draw from that to help create and inform the user experience in senior living?
It is quite educational, coming in with experience from both working with payers as well as with providers.
One of our secret weapons at Philips is the way we develop solutions. We have some of the world’s oldest in-house design organizations. We have 19 design studios across the globe and we have a standard way in which we co-develop solutions. We’re able to bring not just businesspeople who’ve worked in the different industries, but also designers who are looking at the underlying human needs and technologists who can marry what is possible.
We are all experiencing this massive demographic shift of an aging society. We need more than incremental features to overcome the staffing and health challenges this shift have created. We see customers starting to make vendor choices less on the product and on a specific feature, but picking a partner who can work with them to try and determine how we can transform their operations and care they provide.
Philips has already been successful in forging some high-profile partnerships. Is there anything you can tell us about your partnership with Sunrise and Welltower?
I’m really excited about the new projects we’re working on with Sunrise and Welltower. These are exactly the type of large-scale organizations we try to partner with: the ones that really want to transform the type of care that’s delivered to create new differentiators and change operations. There are more projects that we’re really looking forward to being able to talk about this year and next year.
Is there anything else to add in terms of how the traditional emergency call offering is different from your Cloud-based system?
Yes, there are a few things which will probably help illustrate some of the differences that exist between an on-premise versus a Cloud-based system. For example, our real-time location-based technology allows us to remotely monitor residents. You can reduce time-consuming check-ins, relieve the staff and allow them to spend more time with the residents creating value. This allows you to differentiate more as an operator, as well as to potentially lower total staff costs. If we can create solutions like these using that data that allows you to do both — to increase the value to the resident because of how the staff works and also reduce total staffing costs — it turns into a pretty large shift in how the operators actually view these types of solutions.
Another major benefit comes from the operator being able to see exactly where, when and what caregivers are doing in relationship to the residents, and being able to actually drive operational efficiencies out of that. Whether that’s working with caregivers to ensure that they’re using their time efficiently or even around resolving resident complaints, for example from a resident who’s saying, “I think a caregiver stole something from my room.” You can actually use bread crumbing back to show explicitly where that caregiver was to corroborate the claim.
What sort of outcomes do you think operators can look at to show the effect that this type of technology is having in the organization?
This is where I get most excited, to be honest. I think there are some solid solutions in the marketplace for safety, and Philips has also had impactful solutions that can combine that safety and operational efficiencies together, but the real future is around creating healthy communities.
Philips has already built platforms for providers that allow them to be able to see, from a longitudinal perspective, what’s happening with individuals in the setting — taking data from weight scales and blood pressure cuffs, and pill dispensers that generate data. We also have the Lifeline-type solutions and the BlueBand that provide operators with a great deal of data intelligence.
All that data together needs to utilize artificial intelligence to determine the types of care programs that can be created — including clinical care programs, but also social programs. How do you keep someone active? How do you manage isolation? AI identifies individuals in those populations and makes sure they have personalized care programs.
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Philips resident safety solutions include both traditional e-call systems and next-generation platforms with wander management, fall detection alerts, mobile communications and advanced analytics that provide actionable insights to help improve overall resident care. Click here to learn more: www.lifeline.philips.com/seniorliving.
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