Demand for Technology Growing in Senior Living Industry
From mobile apps for residents to electronic record-keeping, the senior living industry is embracing technology as a means to manage data and improve living and working for seniors and facility personnel. A recent article in Senior Housing News reported that 2013 saw tremendous growth in the adaption of various tech-enabled tools by senior living providers. Probably the biggest impact on residence operations is in adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) to better share information about seniors’ healthcare.
Sharing health information amongst many doctors and health providers using EHRs vastly improves efficiency when communicating about residents’ health concerns. Lapses in communication of vital medical information and inaccuracies in patient’s health records are much more efficiently managed by using readily accessible electronic data. In addition to better, faster and more accurate information, EHR systems can greatly reduce costs to providers and senior living facilities. Adapting to EHRs will be particularly crucial as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is implemented. The ACA places strong emphasis on keeping senior residents from hospitalization.
Keeping Residents and Family Connected
Exciting new technology is being used by several large senior living organizations, including Emeritus Senior Living and Erickson Living. Both have introduced proprietary mobile apps that utilize extensive Wifi-enabled computers and tablets allowing seniors to stay connected to friends and family. While Emeritus’ program is still in its pilot stage, they report 85 percent of the residents in their communities have begun to use the app. Access to information internally, such as the dining menu and staff information keeps resident’s informed and current.
In addition to the lifestyle and social benefits of a mobile app for residents, technology is being implemented to monitor residents’ health and safety. Remote sensor systems allow staff to track daily activity patterns and will also allow medical personnel to monitor waking patterns, medication management, and bathroom habits to alert them to health issues as they arise.
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