This article is sponsored by Sentrics. In this Voices interview, Senior Housing News sits down with Sentrics CEO Darin LeGrange to learn how the Sentrics platform helps operators address resident health in four quadrants — physical, medical, social, behavioral — why COVID-19 has given location tracking an “identity” and how rising family expectations are driving technology choices.
Senior Housing News: You have been CEO of Sentrics for two years, and you’ve worked in health care technology since the late 1980s. What are the top experiences in your career that you draw from to be successful at Sentrics?
Darin LeGrange: My experience spans all aspects of the health care ecosystem, from financing and risk, through clinical and delivery in both acute and post-acute, to life sciences and analytics. I believe that background affords me a different perspective into how the senior living community of the future will fit into this health care ecosystem.
Because collectively we are now focused on the entire episode of somebody’s interaction in the health care ecosystem, the senior living community is perfectly situated to become part of this continuum and help manage the outcomes and costs. My background in deploying and managing mission-critical technology platforms from claims processing and population health to medical records and life science analytics, lends itself to understanding the complex needs of the new senior living community.
We can learn many lessons for the health care system and its use of technology, and we believe we can bring these experiences through Sentrics to the senior living environment.
That’s a perfect segue for readers who don’t know Sentrics. Tell us about the company. What is it, and what are the most exciting developments there now?
Sentrics is a relatively new company. We’re two years old but by no means a startup. We’re a company that has been built by acquiring and vertically integrating recognized brands across the senior living technology spectrum. We focus on one thing: improving the quality of life for residents through a 360-degree view — what we term “whole health.”
This is an evolution from the industry’s previous thinking, where we just wanted to keep Mom safe and happy. Now we look at her from a holistic perspective and focus on her whole health. To do this, we developed the first fully-integrated Internet of Things, or IoT, platform in the market with extreme scale. We have more than 5,500 clients that are backed by these very successful brands we acquired and integrated. If a community needs a single piece of technology, or they need the entire technology platform, we can accommodate that in unlimited ways.
You mentioned brands. Who is Sentrics working with?
We are now the market leader in the life safety segment through our acquisitions of Ciscor and Silversphere. We put these companies together to form our Ensure360 product line. We acquired Allen Technologies, a market leader in acute-care patient experience tools, and have pivoted that technology to become the core component of our resident experience and engagement platform, called Engage360.
We’re also now the market leader in entertainment solutions, including TV, internet and phone through our acquisitions of SeniorTV and Care Connect. These companies form our Entertain360 platform.
All of these are recognized big names and market-leading brands that we’ve integrated operationally and organizationally to make up our Sentrics360 platform.
You’ve talked about Sentrics offering health solutions rooted in four quadrants: physical, medical, social, behavioral. How are each of these tied to COVID-19?
Frankly, that is where the whole health view came from. Early on, we took a holistic view of a resident, and we said, if our technology is actually going to make a difference, we have to look in a 360-degree fashion at what a resident needs to improve the quality of their life to create whole health. We broke this down into four components. How do we keep our loved ones physically safe? How do we keep them medically well? How do we keep them socially engaged? How do we improve their behavioral health and cognitive ability?
What we’ve found is that it’s not just about the physical health of a resident. COVID has forced us to look at things differently, and very rapidly. When a disease like COVID presents itself, people are forced into isolation and we see an exponential increase in loneliness, sadness and other behavioral health challenges. The social engagement and personal touch in our communities is as important as the medical and clinical nature of the disease.
How do we engage the resident and keep the family in contact with a loved one in times where she might be isolated or quarantined? We have to help the family interact with a loved one in a way that’s very transparent and relevant. We also need to provide access to technology that can help residents interact with the health care system when a visit to the doctor may not be possible. We can also help improve mood, behavior and an outlook on life when the right content is provided at the right time to the right person.
Since the pandemic began, what have you heard from senior housing operators in terms of an increased interest in building out contact tracing capabilities?
We’re all obviously in tune with contact tracing now and what’s going on with Apple and Google announcing contact tracing apps. Within the senior living community, contact tracing has gotten a lot of interest, driven by this question: How do we address the need for new clinically oriented processes and protocols in a changing landscape?
A lot of this has been done manually in the past, but we believe communities need to adapt, automate and let technology play a larger role in directing the intervention and the protocol. The technology can allow for standardization. If the technology is tracing exposure, and then guides the caregiver to act on it, the ability to track progress and compliance goes up, and you’re assured of the standards that are in place, rather than with a manual effort.
The government has also gotten involved in the management of infectious disease, obviously focused on COVID right now. People are seeing this convergence of health care and government inquiries, and asking, what does this mean for the future? Is this a temporary phenomenon or a long-term change? How are we managing infectious disease inside of our communities knowing that we have a very at-risk population? We’re seeing a lot of interest to standardize this work through technology.
Your solution includes real-time location services, which is becoming a must-have. Tell me about what Sentrics offers.
Other than in memory care, location services before COVID, as I like to term it, lacked an identity. Many asked, “How does it really benefit my community to watch dots moving around a floor plan? So what?”
What COVID has done is drive the need to identify and then manage exposure within the community, which has now given location services an identity and a potential value proposition. Through technology, we can now provide standardization for how we identify cases, manage the protocols and report progress. We can automate quarantine and isolation protocols after a positive case to assure that, as an example, no more than 10 people will be in the cafeteria at a time or in the library or in the activities room, as determined to be the appropriate social distancing criteria.
The technology assures families, the community and anyone else who might have an interest in understanding how you’re managing through a time like COVID. Our technology allows you to have that assurance.
Once a senior living operator knows there are COVID cases at the community, what do they do next to manage those cases?
Today, communities are largely tracing contacts and managing ongoing cases manually. You can imagine how time-consuming this would be. Not to mention how difficult it would be to repeat with multiple cases and track results over time.
What communities need is automation. An exciting piece of our solution, is that we have integrated contact tracing and case management to be a fluid set of repeatable processes. Who was exposed? For how long? And how close were they to a certain subject. These questions are just the beginning. As soon as our contact tracing tool identifies exposures, the data moves directly into our case management platform. It alerts caregivers to isolate or quarantine exposed residents, walks them through the protocol steps and forces them to check each step as completed, and follow the case until that person comes out of quarantine.
Because this data is on a single platform, we can easily serve up visual reports helping the head nurse plan for the day, giving the executive director instant visibility into the health of the community, and even allowing regional VPs and corporate executives to roll up the results across multiple communities.
Many of the protocols leverage the location services, allowing the technology to alert a caregiver when somebody leaves an apartment who was supposed to be isolated or quarantined. Passive assurance checks also help caregivers “see” the status of a resident without risking extra exposure. Typical contact tracing applications will tell you who’s been in contact with whom. We do that and then help you automate, manage and report on those positive cases so that everyone is confident in the processes, and assured that Mom is in good hands. That is probably the most critical step: turning all that data into actionable information.
How are families beginning to become more discerning about case management in the communities?
I can speak from personal experience. My mom is in an independent living community. Family expectations are going up exponentially. I know mine are. I think we are all realizing that this is about more than just our loved ones being physically safe. We expect there to be protocols in place to help keep her healthy and out of harm’s way from something like COVID. Technology can help with this evolving healthcare landscape.
With a manual process, there is so much effort, time and cost to tracking down information. I think we would all agree that there is even a lot of guesswork involved in identifying exposures and contacts. Technology can help. And once we know through location-based technology that Mom might be exposed, we can get her quarantined or isolated and act much more quickly to promote what we all want: a healthier mom.–
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Sentrics delivers a comprehensive suite of data-driven solutions that provide a 360-degree view of residents to help senior living communities transform their operations from reactive to proactive care. To find out how, visit Sentrics.net.
The Voices Series is a sponsored content program featuring leading executives discussing trends and topics shaping their industry in a question-and-answer format. For more information on Voices, please contact email@example.com.