They say technology is only as good as the people using it, and there’s a lot of truth in that. The best senior housing technology only works if an operator can successfully introduce it into the residence.
This may be especially true for remote health monitoring, a technology that is both new and perhaps a little suspect. Some caregivers worry that remote monitoring of residents can take away the human touch, the personal element that lies at the core of the senior housing experience.
In fact, just the opposite is true. Remote monitoring takes the burden off caregivers. By keeping up automatic observation of a resident’s wellness indicators, remote monitoring actually frees up staff to spend even more meaningful, one-on-one time with residents.
Implementing Remote Health Monitoring Technology
- The first audience for the introduction of new remote sensing technology will be the organization’s IT leadership. At the ownership and executive levels, consultants and informed guides need to introduce the technology in detail, explaining how it works, what support may be needed and ultimately why it is good for the business as a whole.
- Moving closer to the community level, executive directors must be brought into the loop, likely by these same outside consultants working alongside upper-level executives. Training for the executive director will take on less of a big-picture stance and focus more on practical matters. They’ll want to know how remote monitoring impacts residents, staff, and care coordination processes, while also being assured that these advances will not detract from the personal level of care.
- A further hands-on implementation comes when remote monitoring is introduced to the staff, first as a group, and eventually by job function. Different caregivers and staff members will have different reasons to interact with a remote sensing system and effective adoption will mean addressing each group according to its own needs and interests. The more specific the training, the more likely staff members are to buy into the system. That buy-in is crucial, since without staff understanding and acceptance, even the best technologies can never fully succeed.
- Train the residents. It may sound tangential, but in fact training the residents is a very real component of overall community adoption when it comes to remote sensing. It’s not quite right to call residents the “end user” – once remote monitoring is fully implemented, residents won’t really “use” it at all. Nonetheless, these systems will be an integral part of their lives and implementation can be greatly helped by strategic efforts to help residents understand what it’s all about.
- Finally, adoption can be helped when the family is brought into the loop. As a residence moves to implement any new technology, family should be kept informed. When it comes to remote monitoring – which can seem scary and even a little invasive to some – it’s vital to give thorough and patient explanations to family members eager to understand these new tools for safety and wellness will keep them better informed, while keeping their loved ones better cared for.
If you’re ready to make the move to remote monitoring, but uncertain about how to drive adoption, there’s a simple mantra to keep in mind: It’s all about education.