Considering how the healthcare sector is continuing to evolve with its integration of technology, it is important to recognize that not everyone is on the same level in their knowledge of tech. Understanding this is important especially with senior patients who many are not as tech savvy as younger users are; this is problematic as some health gadgets target the elderly. Therefore, senior organizations need to comprehend the importance of prioritizing tech initiatives within themselves.
Leading Age 2018 Conference Emphasizes Technology in Senior Care Industry
Although technology continues to influence areas within the healthcare system, senior care organizations need to look more closely at tech initiatives to keep up with increased usage by the elderly. Recently, an article in Health Tech Magazine pointed out how a recent conference that senior healthcare and technology was a large focus of the discussion.
Seniors are utilizing technology more than in previous years as stated in a report by the Pew Research Center last year. The Pew report discovered that the number of seniors who possessed smartphones had doubled from 2013 to 2017; also, the report stated that there was a rise in seniors who used social media and owned a tablet.
The report highlights how the elderly are embracing technology more today than ever before, which is a big part why senior care organizations and their use of technology is consistently evolving to better serve their residents. Naturally, this concept was fully discussed last week at the Leading-Age 2018 conference in Philadelphia. What senior care leaders and organizations talked about particularly was the shift of technology from being a luxury to now a necessity in keeping residents active, healthy and happy.
Using a Business-Focused Way in Deploying Tech
One of the discussions by several CIOs (https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/10/leadingage-2018-future-senior-care-it-leadership-requires-death-silos) focused on how they are reinforcing their infrastructures so that increased business demands could be met. Peter Kress, who is the senior vice president and CIO for West Point, Pa-based Acts Retirement-Life Communities, stated that his organization moved most of its infrastructure into a public cloud during its data center downsizing.
Kress said, “My personal opinion is that the public clouds are the most scalable, most secure, best-supported environments to be in right now. That could change again in the future — pendulums always swing — but that will never again mean that we’re building out and managing internal infrastructure.”
John Couture, the CIO of Des Moines, Iowa-based Lifespace Communities, talked about plans for the organization in moving their infrastructure toward being a Service where he and his IT team plan on focusing more to a higher-value, complex projects and initiatives that will hopefully increase the ability of the company to be more competitive within the marketplace. According to Couture, “I did not grow up in technology. I actually came from the business side and financial services. I’ve always believed that business strategies drive technology. The challenge is that technology is advancing so quickly.”
Never Assume What Seniors Know About Technology
One important theme during the conference was to stay clear of making assumptions regarding how much seniors are capable of understanding and utilizing technology. Bill Rabe, who is the CIO for Skokie, Illinois-based Covenant Living Communities and Services, commented on how one of the major complaints he receives from the residents has to do when there is a disruption with Wi-Fi signal.
Rabe said that, “There are some people who have as many as 10 devices in their apartments, when you talk about printers, smart TVs and all of those other devices.” This is important to keep in mind as to make sure to have the necessary tools and system in place as their will be demand by more and more seniors to have access to Wi-Fi.
Michael Gray and Jennifer Griveas of The Eliza Jennings Senior Care Network in Olmsted Township, Ohio, discussed how seniors have been engaged with attending training sessions in cyber-security that are provided to residents. Griveas said, “They come with great questions, sometimes more sophisticated than a lot of people expect of older adults.”
While there was more discussed during the conference, the basic take-way was that with seniors becoming more and more involved in utilizing technology, it is important for senior care organizations to prioritize initiatives in technology.