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Sean Slovenski
CEO, Care Innovations

Ensuring patients are directly involved in, and take charge of, their own care is a big challenge at the top to-do lists and strategic plans everywhere. Behavior change is hard and with patients spending most of their time outside of a doctor’s office, how do you motivate while also continuing to innovate?

At Care Innovations, we believe harnessing different minds and perspectives is imperative to innovation. Most recently, we held the first ever CI Patient Engagement Hackfest in collaboration with MIT H@cking Medicine, StartX, and Stanford Medical School. The event brought together people with diverse backgrounds looking to solve healthcare’s biggest challenges surrounding patient engagement. In his keynote address, Dr. Jacob Reider, Deputy National Coordinator for HIT, encouraged programmers, developers, engineers, designers, clinicians, scientists, nurses, and entrepreneurs to, “Pick an activity that is close to you because that will fuel your passion.” This is a subtle, but important point because the more we can get of a lab or corporate office and into the real world of the people we’re trying to help, the more likely we can develop something they will actually use. Care Innovations, and our parent companies Intel and GE, have a successful history of doing just this, and it’s the core of our approach to innovation.

Different perspectives and a new way of looking at things were rampant during the hackathon. In his closing address, Dr. Lyle Berkowitz, Associate Chief Medical Officer of Innovation for Northwestern Memorial Hospital, urged greater efficiency in healthcare: “We don’t have a shortage of physicians, we have a shortage of using them efficiently,” he said. That’s not an opinion I’ve ever heard, and it reminded me of why I’m so excited about the original thinking being done in our work with leaders like OSF Healthcare and the University of Mississippi Medical Center (Update #1, Update #2) to unleash the true potential connecting the care continuum to the home.

Our efforts with OSF Healthcare are centered on collecting and analyzing data on the activities of daily living so we can work with patients, family caregivers, and clinicians on more effective interventions and care plans built from a more accurate and complete picture of a patient’s health and daily life. And in the South, UMMC and the State of Mississippi are implementing a remote care management plan to improve the health of diabetic patients that live in a rural area of one of the unhealthiest states in the country. This initial program is intended to be proof of concept that would be considered in rethinking care for diabetic patients across the entire state.

There is no shortage of bright minds and advanced technology in healthcare, but if the missing link in patient engagement is how to motivate patients to be engaged in the first place, looking for answers in non-traditional ways and places – like a hackathon – should be at the top of your to-do list, right next to “solve: patient engagement.”

Demographic advantages and technological advancements make the future look bright

Good news is on the horizon

An increase in senior living customer base is coming. Brookdale* CEO Andy Smith predicts a 35% increase in customer base of people 80+. Smith says by 2015, there are projected to be “over half a million additional prospective residents in the 80 – 84 age group” with annual incomes over $50,000.1

Create a niche and they will come

With a growing customer base, differentiation becomes essential to reaching full occupancy. For the industry to thrive, Andrew Carle, an executive at George Mason University, says it must focus on the value it offers customers. “There is an opportunity to refocus” by providing more services and amenities, not less, says Carle, “especially for baby boomers. We are seeing this with the development of ‘niche’ communities… with a focus on resort-like amenities.”1

Carle points out that 100 niche communities are on the drawing boards. In addition to resort living, retirees can choose communities celebrating music, art, astronomy, aviation, education, equestrian activities, and alternative lifestyles. The niche attraction doesn’t have to cater to every resident to work, Carle says. Carle believes filling 10% of the available residences with a shared affiliation is enough to make the niche concept a success.

The technology explosion

Resort-like amenities may sound upper class, but seniors in all income brackets will expect top quality service with easy access to information and a choice of activities. Even if your community doesn’t offer a resort environment with ponds, koi, spas, and chef-prepared breakfasts, there are technologies that can give you an edge to attract more residents.

Many communities over the last few years have embraced the Wii* as a fun activity beyond the sedentary tabletop games and occasional outings. Today you need wifi throughout your community, but media and entertainment aren’t the only types of technology that will impress your future residents. Smart TVs are already becoming a standard in most homes with connectivity to streaming video and social networks. LG* has partnered with tech companies to build interactive TVs for senior living. The industry is witnessing companies like AT&T* and Verizon* beginning to introduce services for their aging customers.

The connected lifestyle was the hot topic at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Showcased devices measured everything from steps to heart rate. Smart sensors similar to those found in Nike+FuelBand* and FitBits* are no longer just for fitness buffs. They are crossing over into the health, wellness and prevention sectors.

The Smart Pill Box* includes built in sensors that not only track and record the medication taken, but also communicate information remotely to networked caregivers. The Wellograph Watch* monitors vital signs, including a continuous heart rate tracker. Tinké * lets users measure their own heart rate, respiratory rate and blood oxygen levels by placing a finger on a non-invasive fingerprint scanner connected to a smart phone. As more and more consumers are using connected devices, smart technologies need to be part of the senior living road map.

Differentiate your community with high tech solutions

According to Sean Slovenski, CEO of Care Innovations™, “As our healthcare system continues to evolve, technology must play a central role in enabling better outcomes and coordinating between all the members of the care team.” Communities will cater to seniors with technology that makes their lives easier, offering an always on, always connected lifestyle with lightweight mobile devices that integrate with a persistent wi-fi network. Technology will enable self-serve options that let seniors pay as they go for meals, transportation, pharmacy, and recreation.

Are you prepared for the future? The senior living specialists at Care Innovations™ are here to discuss how technology can help meet the expectations and demands of your current and future residents. Give us a call at 800-450-0970 or fill out the form on the right.

1“The Road Ahead”, Senior Living Executive, Jul/Aug 2013, p. 18.

Each morning, when Donna Lehman gets to work at Senior Lifestyle Corporation’s Chancellor’s Village Assisted Living Community, the first thing she does is check on how the residents fared during the night. Instead of asking every senior, Lehman, the director of the community simply looks at the nightly report from Care Innovations™ QuietCare® which uses unobtrusive motion sensors to track activity in resident apartments.

A glance at the computer screen can tell Lehman which resident was up at night, whether they entered the bathroom, and how often. Flagged with yellow or red alerts, the QuietCare® report gives Lehman a sense of which resident might have had a difficult night. “I look for excessive bathroom visits” Lehman, a nurse, says. In the case of excessive urination, Lehman can decide if a doctor visit to check for a UTI is appropriate. That type of quick, proactive response can prevent an unnecessary—and expensive—hospital visit.

According to Kristen Hansen, the Executive Director at Chancellor’s Village in Fredericksburg, VA, the information obtained from QuietCare “has improved our ability to catch issues early, without being invasive.” Because the QuietCare system of smart sensors works behind the scenes, monitoring residents’ activity patterns and movements as they go about their day, Chancellor’s Village can offer an extra measure of safety and security. Residents, who barely notice QuietCare, retain their dignity and live an independent lifestyle.

Donna Lehman says QuietCare helps “our ability to adjust the way we work based on what we learn from QuietCare reports. We are able to fine-tune our care, offering assistance to residents on an individual case-by-case basis.” If QuietCare reports a resident gets up at the same time every night, Lehman can assign someone to check in at precisely the right time to offer help. Because QuietCare tracks residents’ activity overs days, weeks, and months, the staff at Chancellor’s Village can establish baseline patterns for each resident. Activity in the apartments late at night indicates “trouble time” according to Hansen. To help prevent falls, Hansen says, staff will “proactively check on their residents to ask if they need anything. Perhaps a blanket? A drink of water?” By checking on residents during these challenging times, “We can reduce and eliminate the risks that lead to falls.”

At night, Chancellor’s Village staffers appreciate the way QuietCare functions as an extra set of eyes and ears. As Hansen explains, “If a bedroom door opens late at night our staff gets an alert and can meet the resident in the hall. Even if the person is fine, and there’s not an emergency, it’s a level of care and concern that provides peace of mind.” After all, she says, “Who doesn’t want to see a friendly face coming down the hall?” The staff at Chancellor’s Village can work the night shift with a feeling of confidence that the residents are well looked after.

Family members appreciate the insights that Lehman and her staff provide. She uses QuietCare’s objective reports to “share with family members issues as they arise.” Seeing the QuietCare data, family members “feel more relaxed knowing we have a system like QuietCare that can help our staff provide assistance,” Lehman says. “It really puts their mind at ease.”

Watch a QuietCare Demo video to learn more >

Send us an email to request a live demo from one of our senior living specialists, or give us a call at 800-450-0970 to set up an appointment.

When it comes to improving the quality of service your community offers, is the standard operating procedure good enough? In the face of changing demographics, changing technology, and changing regulations, are you leaning in or sitting back to see what happens next?

Smart deployments of technology can have positive impacts on resident safety, improved length of stay, and your ability to meet the demanding expectations of a new cohort of aging boomers.

Resident safety

The number one concern of Long-Term Care (LTC) communities? Resident safety. As seniors enter assisted living (AL) today, LTC providers are seeing a change in demographics. In a recent Care Innovations survey, over half the AL operators indicated their biggest challenge when it came to resident safety was older and more frail residents with more support required for Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), followed by health risks such as falls that lead to hospitalization¹. To keep an increasing older population safe requires an innovative approach to resident monitoring.

Changing expectations on technology

In 2012, half of all Americans over 65 used the Internet or email: 34% of seniors use Facebook*, and 86% use email (48% doing so on a daily basis)². The number of seniors using social networking increased to 43% in 2013³. However, the Care Innovations™ survey revealed only 53% of communities offer complimentary WiFi to residents¹. As more senior living communities adapt to the expectations of tech-savvy boomers for a plugged-in community, you may see an increase in tech spending.

That’s borne out in a recent Ziegler-CAST Technology Spending Survey reported in LeadingAge* Magazine. Ninety percent of the Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) surveyed said they invested in high-speed wireless connectivity. That investment appears to be on the rise, as 75% of the CFOs indicated they would increase spending in the future.

That makes sound business sense to Sarah Hoit, CEO of ConnectedLiving*, a Boston-based organization dedicated to improving the lives of seniors through communications technology. “Boomers aren’t going to come anywhere there isn’t technology structure,” Hoit says.

Changing populations

When it comes to being proactive to changing populations, what can your community do to adapt? “In 1999, the average age of those entering assisted living was 82 years old. Now, residents are coming in at age 87 or 88,” reported Senior Housing News. As residents enter LTCs at an older age, they are enrolling with increasingly higher acuity levels.

To prepare for this influx of seniors with a demand for higher levels of medical care, senior living communities are modifying staffing levels, increasing training, and in some cases adopting a tiered system of pricing based on medical need. To manage individuals with more needs requires a new approach. Josh Allen, chair of the American Assisted Living Nurses Association, offered a protocol for adapting to a population demanding higher levels of medical care. Allen suggests senior living communities review the top 10 chronic medical conditions and then evaluate their ability to provide care for each³.

Length of stay

To increase length of stay, reduce hospital visits. As elderly residents are hospitalized – whether it is from a fall, or a urinary tract infection, their likelihood of returning to your senior living community decreases dramatically. As reported in The Incidence of Fall Injury Events Among the Elderly in a Defined Population only 50% of hospitalized residents return to their community. Finding proactive ways to intervene more quickly, such as better staff training and monitoring systems that report on resident activity may help you increase the length of stay of residents in your community.

Enhance residence safety, security, and length of stay

To learn how to become an agent for positive change, and improve delivery of care using technology, contact a Senior Living Specialist who can explain innovative solutions that will give your community a competitive advantage. Call (800) 450-0970 or send us an email.

Looking for an investment that pays for itself?

Senior living communities continue to be challenged with shrinking budgets, changing demographics of residents, and an increasingly competitive landscape. As you and your team look to budget for the coming year, it will be more important than ever to justify spending with a measurable Return on Investment (ROI). Customers have reported that investments in Care Innovations™ Quiet Care® smart sensor technology pay off by:

  • Providing enhanced levels of safety
  • Retaining residents with an increased length of stay1
  • Improving staff efficiency, accountability, and morale
  • Delivering a high-tech marketing advantage versus competitive communities

Senior living communities with Quiet Care® in resident apartments reported2:

  • Improved confidence: 63% of customers report an improved level of confidence
  • Faster staff response time: 74% of customers reported faster response times
  • Improved staff efficiency: 62% of customers saw an increase in staff efficiency

Resident retention drives technology investments

What’s driving the increase of smart technology in senior living communities? Resident retention. First and foremost, as reported by our customers, 56% said resident retention was their top purchase driver when choosing QuietCare. As the information delivered by QuietCare helps staff identify and respond to issues more rapidly, problems may be identified before they become urgent, resulting in increased retention rates, and thus improving margins and revenue.

According to an executive director of a large Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) quoted in a 2013 TechValidate* study, investing in QuietCare has provided his organization with a distinct competitive advantage when it comes to marketing. “QuietCare helps provide a sense of security and confidence when presented to prospective residents and their families.”

Receive a QuietCare tour

Send us an email to request a live demo from one of our senior living specialists, or give us a call at 800-450-0970 to set up an appointment.

1Study commissioned by GE Healthcare

2Data obtained from current QuietCare customers responding to a survey administered by TechValidate, Aug. 2013.

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