CDW Healthcare was a sponsor of Senior Housing News’ first ever Dallas-based event, focused exclusively on senior living operators. I was excited to hear from many of the summit attendees that they view technology as a differentiator and believe there’s a huge opportunity for it to transform the industry as a whole. At the event, I was part of a panel with four senior living operators where we focused on the topic of, “How Operators are Using Technology to Drive Revenue and Improve Resident Satisfaction.”

 We had a very lively discussion around a number of hot topics in the industry, including ACOs, security, criteria for vetting technology, how technology investments impact operations and how it’s being used toward staff recruitment and retention. In fact, it was such an engaging discussion that I’ll be covering it as a 3-part series so I’m able to capture all of the great insights that were shared around some of these big topics impacting senior care today. My first post in this series focuses on ACOs and security.

ACOs and Senior Living: Is technology the connector?

ACOs have been leading the conversation of late, with the recent announcement of the Next Generation ACO Model prompting people to wonder how the relationship between ACOs and senior living operators will evolve. Everyone on the panel agreed that the future of ACOs and their interaction is going to happen in the next 5 years and that the focus on readmissions and being held accountable for care is where things are headed. One panelist noted that ACOs are starting to figure out that older people are where the cost savings are going to happen, and coordination of care and models that follow the residents throughout this continuum are the logical direction.

But the real challenge today, and what currently stands in the way of this, is interoperability. This is where technology becomes key. Another panelist discussed how technology in the senior living industry around EMR is different from technology in the acute space. He mentioned how the technologies don’t talk to each other very well and vendors haven’t worked through interoperability to make that work. Adding a final thought on how ACOs will be driven by continuing care records, but at this point the vendors are not playing in the same space. The conversation landed with agreement that as this interoperability problem gets solved, we’ll see a lot more synergy between ACOs and senior care organizations.

Security: Is 2015 the year of the senior living healthcare hack?

With security being a big discussion both in retail and on the heels of Anthem’s Health System security breach, folks are proclaiming that this year will be when healthcare gets hit with a significant data hack. But has the senior living industry really begun to have a serious conversation about security risk and what it really means?

The first order of business seems to be looking much more closely at HIPAA as a standard of practice. According to one of the panelists, on the black market, HIPAA information is equal to $250 while credit card information only equals $1 so healthcare data is going to be a target. This is important to remember, especially for the senior living community, when you think about the population you’re caring for and the amount of personal data stored—who has the most prescriptions? We care so much about protecting seniors in their care, but we don’t yet give much thought to protecting their “digital care,” which is also our responsibility.

Ultimately the consensus is on taking a measured and proactive approach. Multiple panelists noted security is going to be a considerable risk and that for us to not recognize this is a serious problem. In fact, one of the panelists added that security has to be a “culture thing” and that as an industry we definitely need to be careful.

This starts with doing risk assessments and gets down to having really good security practices, policy on a culture perspective, monitoring software and more important than ever—building your technology network the right way—on a solid foundation.

Stay tuned for my upcoming posts in this series to hear more from senior living experts discussing vetting technology investments and the impact for ROI and staff.

How do you think ACOs and technology will impact senior care? What security measures are you taking at your senior living community? Tell us on Twitter @CDW_Healthcare or on our LinkedIn Showcase Page. We’d love to hear from you!

Check out our Senior Care Capabilities Brochure for more on how to build your technology foundation and learn more about CDW Healthcare’s security solutions.


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