For some senior living organizations, technology infrastructure, equipment, and services are put in place during new construction. But for others, it can be tricky to determine when a technology roadmap is truly required.
Some investment might be made in network speed and computers, but a roadmap is more than a purchasing round — it provides a comprehensive, insight-filled approach across an organization, from staff retention to resident monitoring options. How do you know if your senior living organization is ready for a roadmap? Here are five ways to tell:
1. Repair and tech support have become too commonplace
Your technology should not present a problem on a daily basis. Yet, many senior housing operators have become so used to technical issues that they spend part of every day battling network slowdowns, interoperability glitches, data storage questions, and upgrade requests. Without a technology roadmap, these problems will only get worse, as residents bring in more devices.
2. Staff numbers and turnover are higher than you expected
With technical issues come inefficiency, so staff members are often left doing workarounds and even duplicating data entry tasks. This can be frustrating, and the result may be more hiring to fight the inefficiency, especially if turnover begins to creep upward. A streamlined roadmap makes technology into a productivity tool instead of a constant hindrance.
3. New resident acquisition is sluggish
The wave of baby boomers that is coming into senior living organizations is unlike the generation before them. According to a recent Pew Research Center study, nearly two-thirds of American adults use social networking sites, and seniors are increasingly looking to technology to improve communication with family and friends. About 66 percent of seniors over age 65 want home access to online healthcare solutions like records management and telehealth services. As that trend increases, potential residents will be looking for senior living centers that can accommodate their needs in the future, not just support their device and network requirements today.
4. You hesitate to implement upgrades
Every application and device requires updates for better management, functionality, and security. But some senior living operations wait to upgrade because they may be concerned about the amount of bandwidth required, or about the potential interoperability problems that could arise if only some of the machines receive the update. Unfortunately, this opens up any organization to risk. Network World magazine noted that the most serious and neglected vulnerability is lack of patching, and that nine out of 10 successful hacks are waged against unpatched computers. With a technology roadmap, upgrades will be built into the plan, to prevent interoperability problems and security risks.
5. You want to provide forward-thinking solutions
Even if your technology mix is meeting your needs now — with network speeds and upgrades on track — what about five years from now? Senior health technology like vital sign monitoring, fall alerts, early illness detection, and online records management are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and require a technology infrastructure that can handle more innovation. A technology roadmap can help you take a strategic approach, rather than trying to keep up with the latest and greatest applications, devices, and services.
When it comes to technology planning, it can be easy to focus on what’s required to get through the next few months. While just-in-time support and services are important, don’t miss the signs that indicate a technology roadmap might be right for your organization.