Oneview Blog

The Progression of Senior Living Technology & Resident Engagement

What started out as bulletin board notifications and annual resident surveys has evolved into an entirely independent category most commonly referred to as resident engagement. As technology advances and processes become more streamlined within Senior Living communities, it is important to look at where we’ve been to fully realize how far we’ve come. Resident engagement is a prime example of this progression.

In the past, senior living communities primarily engaged with residents and families via paper activity calendars, post-it notes, newsletters and flyers. Staff members also used paper-based leases, health records, care plans, and even activity curricula. Information was stored mainly in binders and filing cabinets. Life was much less documented, and resident acuity was also much lower.

Then things began to change. Digital products and concepts were introduced into the healthcare market at large and innovative senior living communities joined the movement. CRM systems designed for senior living entered the market, and electronic health records and medication management products followed shortly after. Things were changing! Unfortunately, some of the change received resistance from staff members. Technology altered the way business had been done. This was challenging, especially when the technology didn’t “feel” more efficient. There were multiple staff claims of more paperwork, duplicate data entry, and overall less time spent with residents. Communication with residents and families typically consisted of a phone call to let family members know there was a change in care level, or even worse – there was fall. The cycle of residents and families not being “happy” surfaced and occupancy sometimes dropped with move-outs. The topic of resident satisfaction came into view, and we all started to think in terms of how we can get more information from residents and families before they want to leave.

Essentially this was the birth of some of the first electronic resident engagement products. We began to entertain residents with newspapers, videos, and even allow them to see the community calendar on a screen rather than a piece of paper. Tablets surfaced either in a shared environment with care team staff or on a more individual basis (often in public areas), and digital signage entered the design of common areas projecting slides of menus or community related content. Family and staff apps became buzz words and offered some basic functionality that allowed for better communication and photo sharing. Communities often struggled with resident utilization in some cases and staff members were also still leaning the “digital way” of documentation overall. At the same time, acuity began to increase within the resident population and occupancy began to see further instability.

Fast forward a bit, a greater diversity of CRM, Accounting, Electronic Health Records, and portal products flooded the market. Some non-traditional healthcare companies became interested in senior living. Innovation is upon us! Resident engagement has also advanced. Now communities and providers have access to so much more. Without multiple clicks that drive down previous utilization, residents can now see their whole day by just turning on the tablet. Modern offerings include concierge services, room service, work order placement, unlimited real-time resident and family surveys, and most importantly, business intelligence to help manage all the systems that are in place. Integrations are the key to streamlining and unifying current technology environments and allowing providers to have more choice and control over when and how they would like to update their products and processes.

Contact Delaine Blazek, dblazek@oneviewhealthcare.com, to learn how to improve customer satisfaction and stabilize occupancy with the Oneview Senior Living solution.

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