This article is sponsored by Sentrics. In this Voices interview, Senior Housing News sits down with Sentrics Chief Product Officer Brian McWade to talk about the advantages of adopting an engagement platform in senior living, including how resident engagement can relieve stress and improve efficiencies for staff. He also walks through some of the key pain points and considerations for providers that are exploring integrated solutions, and he breaks down the top technologies that should be on their radars today.
Senior Housing News: What career experiences do you most draw from in your role today?
When I say I’ve been in senior living technology my entire career I mean it literally. On a Friday, I graduated college, and the following Monday, I was knee-deep in the world of senior living tech startups. I’ve witnessed first-hand the ebb and flow of the technology landscape and the significant adoption shift that has occurred. Every day, I draw on these experiences.
From a business perspective, I’ve successfully orchestrated the sale of a senior living technology company (Connected Living) on two occasions – initially to Omega Healthcare Investors (NYSE: OHI) and more recently to Sentrics. What you learn in an M&A process about your business and how the market values it is invaluable for future experience and decision-making.
What is the advantage of an engagement platform in senior living, and what differentiates the Sentrics solution from others in the marketplace?
Today, having a resident engagement platform within communities is less of an advantage and more of a necessity. More than 50% of seniors who move into a senior living community have a connected device that they use multiple times per day. Residents want to be connected to their families, their communities, the community’s services, and other residents. From a usability perspective, residents want to engage in quick spurts, with a purposeful intent. Sentrics is unique in that we extend engagement beyond traditional resident engagement into our core life safety and TV entertainment services. This allows us to take engagement to other areas, such as television. Since we provide TV services, we can put engagement right onto our set-top box and create a unified TV viewing experience. We are also, via our eCall business, able to pass various notifications through the various products offered to the resident and their family.
Can you talk about the key benefits of an ecosystem that can communicate with residents how and where they are most comfortable?
There’s no better place to understand tech adoption than a senior living community. A senior’s ability to use technology is affected by many factors: their vision, physical and cognitive state, speech, financial situation, age, and general tech understanding. What’s unique is that a senior could represent any combination of these [elements]. This means there are over 100 possible combinations that impact how a resident engages with technology – and that is just one resident! From an administrative perspective, that can be daunting given how you need to communicate. How do you do that in the most effective, efficient way?
How can resident engagement relieve stress and improve efficiencies for staff?
The actual delivery of resident engagement is the exciting part. It is the lead-up, management, organization, and communication of that engagement that is challenging. Every business wants to streamline its processes. This means making it easier for staff to create content on a recurring basis in order to limit their need to go and communicate one-on-one with residents and streamline information messaging. These are all things we can do to give staff more time. Our goal is to save staff at least an hour a day in managing community events.
What are some of the key pain points and considerations for providers that are exploring integrated solutions, and what technologies should be on their radar?
The hot word in senior living is integration. Companies and organizations are always looking for an integrated experience. Behind the curtain though, what does that actually mean? It’s one thing to be integrated, the challenge is creating integrations that unlock efficiencies and ways of leveraging this integrated data to come up with proactive insights. Our recommendation is to look for companies that have strong tech teams, strong API documentation, and proven track records of integrations with other companies. Primarily, leaders should be looking at the combination of EHR platforms, CRMS, food ordering systems, and engagement products.
What is the advantage of taking a data-driven approach to resident engagement, and are there any notable takeaways or highlights from the data you’ve encountered?
The challenge historically with resident engagement data is that it is very subjective in nature. This makes it difficult to rely on it to heavily or use it as the primary driver when making data-driven decisions. Sure, there are some objective use cases like gaining a better understanding event adoption, staff engagement, etc, but is that really the future of where and how we want to be using engagement data? The true value of engagement data comes into play when you can cross-analyze it against other critical data points being collected within a community — think life safety, tv/entertainment usage, and other point solutions — to gather a true 360-degree view of a community and resident.
Finish this sentence: “In the senior living industry, 2023 will be the year of…”
…continued consolidation of senior living operators and tech companies.
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
CTA: Sentrics delivers the only fully integrated suite of data-driven platforms that provide the insights and control to transform care from reactive to predictive. To learn more about their solutions, visit https://sentrics.net/senior-living/engage360/.
The Voices Series is a sponsored content program featuring leading executives discussing trends, topics and more shaping their industry in a question-and-answer format. For more information on Voices, please contact [email protected].