When you are focused on elderly care, whether you are managing nursing homes, retirement communities, community-based services or in-home care, it’s hard to keep up with new technology. With the rapid rate of evolution of technology, new solutions are introduced all the time and keeping up with the new solutions is a daunting task. So what strategies do elderly care providers need to stay current on new technology?
Firstly, the catch-22, when it comes to getting educated on technology is finding out whether the technology you need exists. Secondly, if it does exist, there are complexities in learning about the various options that are available in the marketplace to meet the requirements. There are many ways to skin a cat – and more than any other industry, with the plethora of options and solutions available, this rule is most applicable to healthcare and elderly care.
The new digital world has profound implications for elderly care providers. Cloud based services, telemedicine and artificial intelligence can deliver preemptive care very effectively. The power of data combined with innovations in machine learning technology, can predict, prescribe and aid in proactive management of care or the business of care, often without the need for any human input at all.
Nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other types of services for seniors need to rapidly adapt and reap the benefits of digital transformation. Wider use of technology will assist elderly care providers in their mission for providing the highest level of care for their clients, in a scalable, sustainable, and cost-effective way.
Characteristically, this should come as no surprise, but owners and administrators of elderly care facilities have to make a conscious effort to stay up to date with technology. As the cost of care rises and insurance coverage diminishes, every dollar spent on care has to be judiciously used. According to CMS.gov, U.S. health care spending reaching $3.6 trillion in 2018 or $11,172 per person and accounted for 17.7 percent of GDP. Medicare spend in 2018 was close to $750 billion.
Many elderly care facilities aren’t prepared to integrate new technologies into their daily procedures. This limits their ability to meet the demand for high-quality services in a cost efficient way. Additionally, not adapting to new technology, also makes it harder to compete with more advanced care models. Only facilities leveraging the power of technology will be in better positioned to compete in this space.
Note: This is part 3 of the blog series on Implementing Technology Solutions for Elder Care Facilities. The previous post covered in detail, the steps on performing a comprehensive technology needs assessment, which is a critical step to be performed by an elderly care organization, before embarking on any technology implementation.
Notwithstanding or undermining the sheer daunting effort, here are some simple and clever strategies for elderly care providers to stay educated on technology.
1. Attend Conference Events
Every year, industry groups focused on technology, healthcare and aging host a variety of conferences – some focused on the clinical and medical area and some on non-clinical and technology for productivity enhancements . These events are held all across the United States and the world.
Attending a conference focused on healthcare or elderly care technology, is perhaps the most [valuable] way of getting broad knowledge on the different types of technologies and the solution providers. Additionally, conferences are a great way to meet and connect with peers and subject matter experts. When it comes to conferences, the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is one of the best for consumer technology. The unique aspect of CES, is it often provides cues into where technology is headed and gives you a glimpse into the future.
Here are a few other conferences that focus on digital health technology. Despite the fact that these conferences broadly focus on the healthcare, they do include special tracks on technology for the aging and elderly market.
- The Digital Health Summit (occurs around same time as the CES)
- Health 2.0 Conference
- Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference
- Aging in America Conference
2. Subscribe to Elderly Care Technology Newsletters or Podcasts
While conferences are the ideal way to quickly get upto speed on technology and learning about solution providers, they can be logistically challenging and expensive.
Newsletters from Trade Associations, Solution Providers, Technology leaders and Trade Magazines are quite an effective way to stay up to date. Additionally, conference organizers, sometimes also offer an option to subscribe to their newsletters – which is a great way to stay updated on trends in between the conferences.
Here are some newsletters we recommend
3. Participate in Webinars
With the proliferation of web conferencing technology, a large number of elderly care technology vendors and solution providers host webinars periodically. Moreover, these webinars do an excellent job of bring together thought leaders and subject matter experts who can not only share their unique experiences and knowledge about their domains of expertise, but also are open to more 1-1 discussions or conversations.
The best way to find webinars is to scan the websites of your existing solution providers or the technology providers you are interested in. If you join their mailing lists, you can expect to get frequent updates on the webinars of their new product releases or marketing events
4. Read Tech Blogs
There are thousands of blogs on the internet today, and several that primarily focus on Aging and Aging Technology. Reading technology blogs focused on elderly care, is one of the easiest and fastest way to familiarize and get educated on new technology and emerging trends. The comments sections of the blogs are a great way to contact the publisher or other community and ask questions. Most bloggers offer RSS subscriptions to their blogs. Use a news aggregator service like Feedly or Google News for a one-go to source for your news or curated content from blogs.
Here is a list of blogs we recommend
5. Join Special Interest Groups for Elderly Care Technology
Join or become members of special interest groups or trade associations. Most of these groups schedule periodic networking events and serve as a great resource for people to share big ideas and knowledge. Special interest groups also offer newsletters that you can subscribe to. Many of these newsletters are very topic specific and can zero in on the specific issue you may be interested in learning about.
Here are a few groups – that are represent a wide range of subject matters.
- International Council on Active Aging
- Consumer Technology Association
- Aging 2.0
- National Council for Aging Care.
- The Peter G. Peterson Foundation
To sum up, we hope these tips and strategies can help elderly care providers to stay current on healthcare and elderly care technology. You may decide adopt and follow one or more or all. Alternately, based on your convenience and bandwidth, you may choose to start with one and gradually expand to the other methods.
However, it is important that you make it a point to frequently and periodically continue to keep yourself updated with any of the above methods. We recommend once per week as an ideal frequency, because as mentioned above, technology evolves very fast and one can soon lose track of the latest and the best that technology has to offer.
Finally, with your help, we would like to keep this list updated. Do you have a resource you can recommend that will help our elder care providers in their quest for staying current on technology? Please share through the comments section below or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will credit you with your contribution and keep our resource list updated.