Senior Living Business Interactive: Investing In Technology: The New Paradigm

Technology is here...there’s no turning back. From WiFi in smart homes to telecare for chronic conditions and everything in between, senior communities—and seniors themselves—are increasingly becoming plugged in. What does all this mean for senior living providers?

Technology-enabled programs can improve the way services are delivered to older adults, according to David Lindeman, PhD, director of the Center for Technology and Aging in Oakland, California; and technology in terms of a building’s fundamental infrastructure (e.g., wireless capability), remote monitoring solutions (e.g., telehealth), and data management systems (e.g., electronic health records) can help aging individuals maintain themselves at the place they call home—the decided preference of the huge elderly population coming along in the coming decade or two.

There’s always, however, a question of how an investment in new technology will affect the IT infrastructure as a whole. An existing system must be flexible enough and scalable enough to support new features and functionality, even though that greater flexibility and scalability
generally means a higher cost.

When introducing new technology-enabled solutions—or managing existing ones—organizations and individuals responsible for caring for seniors need to consider several key factors. First of all, senior living organizations need to be aware of—and take advantage of—the many changes and improvements in technology, starting with the basic cabling that connects a computer to the applications, systems, and services that the organization needs from an IT perspective.

There’s an increased dependence on both local-area and wide-area networks, according to Yon Ubago, Senior Consultant at Equilibrium IT Solutions in Chicago. “In the past, all you worried about was your computer,” he said, “but in recent years, we’ve been undergoing a convergence of systems…sensors, location tracking, security, and other condition-sensing systems that previously were managed by the facilities team but, as they become more common both in health-care provider facilities and in homes, are now becoming integrated into local-area networks managed by the IT department. So it’s becoming more important to have redundancy and resiliency in those networks.”

From a wide-area network perspective, there’s more importance in ensuring connectivity between the facility(ies) and users beyond the premises who need to access internal services. Facilities certainly need to be able to integrate with EHR systems and with other health-care delivery organizations, as well as to access.....Want to read more? Click here for a free trial to Senior Living Business Interactive  and download the current issue today