Last week in McKnight’s Senior Living Marketplace Columns, our partner PointClickCare’s VP and GM for senior living, Travis Palmquist, shared his thoughts on key trends to watch in senior living for 2017. We couldn’t agree more that technology plays a vital role in providing better care, improved experiences for residents, and greater efficiency/engagement for staff. Expanding on Palmquist’s 7 trends, we offer 3 additional points we feel senior care and LTPAC facilities need to consider as they make the leap to greater technology adoption.
1. The importance of bulletproof wireless/Wi-Fi: In our experience, we have encountered many facilities that don’t have the necessary, secure Wi-Fi setup to offer better coverage, or to handle an increasing need for bandwidth due to the addition of more staff using more technology. This is a critical backbone that should not be overlooked. And in the coming years, an increasing number residents are going to want/need access to Wi-Fi. We have some very tech savvy seniors out there. Facilities need to get themselves set up to meet today’s wireless needs, but also need to monitor the situation and plan for scaling up securely as needed in the future.
2. Multi-functioning devices: Technology is great, but too many devices can lead to frustration and lower productivity. Mobile devices should be able to perform more than one function for staff. For example: Timeclock (punch-in/punch-out), Point of Care and eMAR functionality should be available on the same, convenient mobile device. Multi-functioning means lower overall cap-ex spend and reduces the hassle of multiple devices – ensuring better device security, access to mission critical data and better technology adoption.
3. The increasing need for 24×7 tech support: Resident care is round-the-clock, shouldn’t technology support also be? Your IT staff may work 9-5 but technical issues have a unique way of cropping up at 11 p.m. Good 24×7 tech support is possible and needed to support efficiency, productivity, staff morale and overall resident care. As you bring more technology on-stream, you need to seek out ways to properly scale up support without overstretching your internal IT department. There are creative solutions out there that allow you to fill in the gaps.