4 Signs Your Housing Operation Needs a Healthcare IT Consultant

Technology providing the opportunity to transform good senior living care into outstanding care. What was once not possible is now possible. Technology is changing lives for the better in so many ways. Expectations are high.

As today’s seniors enter the senior living scene, they are some of the first to know the impact technology can have on communication, safety, prevention and efficiency in care—and they expect all of the above.

Technology has also allowed the federal government to raise its expectations.. The new reimbursement method, called value based care, ties Medicare and Medicaid payments to improved quality of care through efficiency.  

With the increased use of technology comes the added concern about security and the fear of severe HIPAA penalties for breaches. Expectations around privacy and security are high with both consumers and the federal government.

So how is a senior living executive to meet all of these expectations? With a good, sound health IT infrastructure that can handle the load of ever-advancing, complicated technology and the federal regulations governing their use in the healthcare sphere. Infrastructure supports the use of all technology used within a senior living organization, including remote monitoring, artificial intelligence and wi-fi capabilities for resident use.

Infrastructure is complex and necessary, but not every senior living community has the expertise to make sure all of its hardware, software, network services and IT management are adequate. Nor can most senior living communities prepare for the IT changes that are rapidly unfolding on a yearly basis.

Senior living executives must ask themselves some important questions. If the answers are less than satisfactory, then it might be time to bring in some expertise to assist with IT. To help discover the need for healthcare IT consultants, senior living executives are advised to ask themselves these questions:

1. Can our infrastructure allow us to adopt new technology as it evolves to improve quality of life and increase length of stay?

Some of this technology includes remote monitoring that can assist human caregivers, improve resident satisfaction, increase comfort and prevent accidents. How far can our infrastructure take us? If a senior living executive can’t answer that question, it is time to reach out to IT experts who can help answer those questions and more.

2. Can our IT infrastructure’s bandwidth support business operations, care technology and a growing resident population’s wireless devices at the speed needed?

How can a senior living organization determine infrastructure needs and map a course for the future? If you don’t know the answer to that, then it might be time for a health IT consultant’s help.

3. Does our compliance staff know how to protect against data and security breaches that could bring severe financial penalties and damaging media exposure?

Can we keep up with the changes in HIPAA rules and other compliance and regulatory concerns, including the need to exchange data between our community and other healthcare providers in the community? Health IT consultants are experts in these issues, who stay abreast of regulatory trends that can be overwhelming. If you find yourself afloat in a sea of confusing and complicated regulations, perhaps it’s time to bring some health IT consultants on board.

4. Does our infrastructure have the appropriate data storage–either in-house or in the cloud–to allow for the data analysis needed to improve population health?

Value based care rests on the collection of data via electronic health records and the analysis of this data for best care practices, medical error prevention and more. Data storage and the movement of data requires experts. If you don’t have this in-house, you probably will soon find you need for some health IT consultants.

Health IT consultants can be worth their weight in gold in today’s competitive and complex senior living market. Technology is unavoidable, in fact, it is desirable. As technology advances, changing life at every level as we know it, the need for expertise is becoming more important than ever.

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