A technology roadmap does more than create a list of tech assets and services. With a roadmap in place, a senior living organization can gain a comprehensive, structured approach to technology, for both immediate needs and long-term goals.
But where do you start? Simply jumping in and trying to identify key components of a technology strategy can be overwhelming. Fortunately, asking a few important questions can help set your direction:
1. What are resident expectations?
As more and more Baby Boomers retire, they’ll come to senior living with expectations about their IT environments. Many have smartphones, tablets, and Internet-enabled devices. They might expect a certain level of broadband speed, network access, and even online data storage options. These needs can have a significant impact on resident retention, so getting an idea of their scope can be helpful for creating an appropriate roadmap. It can also prove useful when setting goals for the future, such as making a system more scalable to support emerging technologies.
2. Do you need remote monitoring?
In addition to resident-driven technology, it’s crucial to consider healthcare-related services such as remote monitoring, which can reduce injury risk, support effective staff-to-resident ratios, and provide better care coordination. Also, adult children of residents often feel comforted and assured that the technology is helping to meet safety needs. Including these services in your senior living technology roadmap can be another strong benefit for your organization.
3. What are your security and compliance needs?
As hackers continue to target healthcare networks, maintaining data security and complying with HIPAA regulations should be high on your list of must-haves for a technology roadmap. These mandates need to extend across all levels of senior care, from care coordination to administrative databases. Understanding how they fit into a roadmap is key, because it can help determine what type of security controls and services will be required.
4. Have you done an IT gap analysis?
Most likely, you have several technology components in place already, and an IT backbone designed to handle those services and applications. But with systems that get put together over time, gaps can be created as more devices, resources, and providers come together. Before creating a technology roadmap, get a handle on where these gaps exist with an analysis that includes insight on network downtime, speed and connectivity, redundancy and other factors. This analysis can bring together information on aging assets like outdated hardware, and give you a better idea of what needs to be replaced.
5. Can you benefit from healthcare IT consultants?
There are numerous technology professionals available, but when thinking about creating your roadmap, consider drawing on specialized expertise. Healthcare IT consultants have the training necessary to handle hosted environments, data storage, resident needs, and infrastructure in a way that not only makes sense for an organization, but also follows regulations and health privacy laws.
Although it can be tempting to implement a wealth of new applications and services into an organization, take the time to understand what type of senior living technology is needed. Once you answer those questions, you’ll be much more effective in creating a technology roadmap that’s right for you and your business.