As I mentioned in an earlier post, CDW Healthcare was recently a sponsor of Senior Housing News’ first-ever Dallas-based event, focused exclusively on senior living operators. At the event, I was part of a panel with four senior living operators in which we focused on “How Operators Are Using Technology to Drive Revenue and Improve Resident Satisfaction.”

I talked in my first post about some of the lively discussion we had about ACOs and security, and now I’d like to continue the conversation where we left off, which is a really important topic that I’m sure will resonate with many of you: the criteria for vetting technology.

This is a challenge for all senior care operators. However, one of the messages that came through loud and clear was that these days you need Wi-Fi just to be relevant. Technology is seen as a differentiator by both senior living operators and the residents and families they serve, but right now much of the technology out there really doesn’t fit the needs of the senior care industry. What’s being offered to senior care has not caught up with the full scope of technology on the market. This sentiment was echoed by many of the members of the panel, noting that when it comes to technology, there isn’t enough developed specifically for senior care organizations, it’s not able to integrate with their systems, and it’s not customized to their needs.

So how do operators approach technology adoption? The short answer is that it’s complicated. Ultimately, it requires a lot of negotiating with vendors to take their healthcare solutions and make them relevant to the senior care space. One size does not fit all, one panelist said, so it starts with defining requirements, running an RFP and being prepared to customize. Another concern is the need for solutions that are scalable and secure. Often operators run pilots and try to see what makes the most sense.

Lack of integration really lies at the root of many of these challenges. There’s still a distinction perceived between hospital care and senior living care, and this persistent thinking stands in the way of well thought-out and compatible solutions. The technology senior care operators have looked at in the past is different from what they’re looking at for the future. Partnering with ACOs is a big part of this. Interoperability across care systems is quickly becoming a requirement, and vendors need to know how to make this happen.

The senior living operators on the panel all work hard to stay up to date on their technology options, but are sometimes flooded with 30 to 40 cold calls a day from technology vendors. They acknowledge that many of these technology choices may be valuable, but often they feel too overwhelmed to thoroughly review them all.

I know this isn’t uncommon. In hearing about the struggles of these operators, who represent all different types of communities, and from my own interactions with senior care customers every day, I can’t say often enough that choosing the right technology partner is essential to getting on the right path to the future. The best tips I can recommend are to look for a technology company that:

  • Partners with leading technology manufacturers
  • Has experience serving as a trusted IT resource across the continuum of care
  • Can create a solution that is comprehensive, integrated, and tailored to your unique needs and budget
  • Goes beyond hardware and software by offering you comprehensive and responsive technology guidance, support and services before, during and after implementation

Adopting new technology can be a daunting and complicated endeavor, but working with a partner you can trust will give you the peace of mind you need in a world of options and change.

How do you vet technology providers at your senior care organization? What do you struggle with most? Tell us on Twitter @CDW_Healthcare or on our LinkedIn Showcase Page. We’d love to hear your thoughts!

To learn more about how to select your next technology solution, check out our Senior Care Capabilities Brochure. If you’re looking for more personalized direction, see how we partner with senior living and long-term care organizations like yours.

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