Senior housing may face a range of business challenges, from increasing competition to changing resident expectations. It takes creative management to address these issues. On the operational side, there are a number of hurdles that require not just good business savvy, but also sophisticated healthcare IT solutions.
In the ongoing effort to manage labor, operators need automation as an ally to ease the workload. In a world of outcomes-based medicine, senior housing needs IT interoperability to remain in the loop with outside caregivers. They need communications tools to streamline operations and keep residents in touch with loved ones. And they need a strong IT infrastructure overall to ensure they will be able to keep up as technology changes. It’s worth taking a close look at each of these healthcare IT solutions.
Senior housing staff are tasked with multiple responsibilities; they carry a heavy workload. Spreadsheets no longer get the job done. Today, this is fundamentally an IT problem. One that invites a technological solution. Automation helps to ease the burden on staff members who may already be stretched thin. Take for instance passive falls alerts. This technology tracks a resident’s patterns of mobility and sends an automated alarm to caregivers if a fall seems imminent.
In addition to supporting resident safety, these automated alerts ensure caregivers can be in the right place at the right time, reducing unnecessary travel while making certain staff is appropriately distributed among those who are having an ordinary day, and those in need of special attention.
The push toward data sharing.
Changes in healthcare are pushing providers to share information more fluidly. The interoperability movement is allowing senior housing IT to exchange information with hospitals, doctors, clinics and other providers. In a healthcare environment that judges success by clinical outcomes, this ability to share information helps to make senior housing a player in the game, fully engaged in the care continuum rather than sitting on the sidelines. A modern communications portal makes these interconnections possible.
Internal and external outreach.
Operators are challenged to support a range of communications needs. They also must implement systems that enhance the resident experience internally, by helping seniors stay engaged with their neighbors, even with limited mobility. Externally, seniors also need and want communications tools that enable them to keep in touch with family and friends. The solution? A solid communications infrastructure can be help to drive both internal and external communications.
All these needs can be met with a sophisticated communications portal. Designed with the senior residence in mind, such communications hubs can tie together all the various elements needed to ensure every link in the communications chain is plugged in and responsive to the needs of residents and staff.
Ever-changing IT landscape.
In an IT landscape that continues to evolve, driving potentially expensive upgrades, housing executives are challenged to contain costs while also keeping systems current. Investments in IT infrastructure can serve as the backbone supporting present and future needs. A sound infrastructure can tie together all the disparate elements, ensuring that a single IT environment is available to support all the needed technologies. Just as significant, a well-conceived infrastructure can give operators peace of mind in knowing that their systems will be able to adapt easily to whatever evolutions may arise as technology moves through its inevitable future advancements.
Senior housing may face a range of business and operational challenges, but with solid healthcare IT solutions, operators can go a long way to ensuring that these issues are managed effectively and appropriately in the short term and over the long haul.