Question of the Month: Technological Advancement

Is the seniors housing industry currently undergoing a slow technological evolution or a rapid revolution?

Process can be messy, but we should embrace it

By Sheri Peifer

Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer


There is a slow convergence occurring within the seniors housing industry where technology is developing rapidly, but is not yet mature enough to be seamlessly and affordably integrated. Some operators take a “wait and see” approach while others jump in and begin testing, piloting and scaling best practices.

We have found the latter approach to be beneficial so we are not left behind. We are all on a continuous journey of performance improvement and we must commit to exploring new tools of technology. 

We recognize and understand the process is messy. We will learn from failures and, most importantly, we will capture critical lessons learned so that next time we can leap frog forward with better knowledge, experience and execution.


Incoming tech could cut out operators

By Arun Paul

Founder and CEO

Priya Living

The seniors housing business is undergoing a rapid revolution, whether it knows it or not. Technology is rapidly changing the delivery of services, and will soon cut the middleman (senior living operators) out. 

Today, sitting at home, you can easily order groceries (Instacart), meals (Munchery, Postmates, etc.), transportation (Uber, Lyft), and personal care ( Coming soon are virtual reality and self-driving cars, which will both provide an alternative to community living.

Without a doubt, these technologies will benefit consumers but threaten operators. The pressing question is: How do we stay relevant tomorrow?


Gap widening between those who do/don’t embrace tech

By Isaac Dole

Founder, Managing Partner

Birchwood Health Care Properties

Like all industries, technology has made a significant impact on seniors housing with the goal of increasing efficiency and generally becoming more sophisticated and customized. 

In recent years, there have been major strides in technology related to procurement, marketing, staffing, EMRs, pharmacy and more. Some of these innovations are improving performance for operators and widening the
gap between those who adopt technology and those who don’t. Additionally, technology has increased the wellbeing of residents through increased connectivity and customization.

However, while technology is a tool, this business will always be heavily dependent on strong personal relationships among all stakeholders to a community.


Expect the revolution to accelerate further

By Bill Pettit


R.D. Merrill Co.

Our industry has not always been quick to adopt new technology, often taking a “wait and see” attitude. However, I am amazed at the impact of technology on the way we run our business. While the revolution has been faster than we might have expected, it will truly accelerate in the next decade.

Technology has dramatically expanded use-of-care platforms and data capture to improve care delivery, scheduling, risk monitoring and staffing costs. We are now offering high-speed Internet to residents with multiple options for the coming baby boomers. We have increased programming capabilities with smartphones and tablets, and we use video conferencing for team member development and resident communication.

Down the line, I see many possibilities with virtual reality programming and support for our industry.


The revolution is still to come

By Kevin Tyler

Vice President, Investments


The maturation of the senior care industry is starting to accelerate, due in part to enhanced data analytics and technology-related innovation. When you also consider demographic changes that will impact the number and availability of caregivers, it’s clear that new models for revenue and labor management, different building configurations and opportunities to use technology to improve resident care must be front of mind. 

Technology advancements that drive high-quality outcomes, cost-efficiency and scalability will lead the evolution that is underway. The revolution is still to come.


Skilled nursing will lead the way

By Patrick Hart

Vice President of Senior Living Solutions


Until now, the seniors housing industry has been undergoing a slow evolution, because the industry tends to lag behind in technology adoption. Since standard seniors housing doesn’t have the heavy regulatory requirements of skilled nursing, it has been even slower to buy into data and technology and really see the return on investment that is available. 

Skilled nursing is going to lead a revolution surrounding care coordination. New technologies can connect residents or patients, their family members and everyone on their entire healthcare team for better outcomes across the continuum of care.


Progress is slow, but still exciting

By Matthew Turner

Managing Partner

MorningStar Senior Living

While technological advances are increasingly embraced in seniors housing and care, as an industry, we’re still relative laggards. So it’s a slow evolution. 

That said, there are some exciting technology platforms being refined. As a general statement, many of the early adopters are seeing less-than-compelling results, which just means much opportunity still exists. 

Ultimately, senior care is about care. So while some new technologies are helping to increase efficiencies, it will only matter if those efficiencies result in improved care and resident satisfaction.


Wait for the tech winners to shake out

By Steve Simpson

Senior Living Executive


The visible side of tech is clearly in the “rapid [r]evolution.” I prefer calling it the “shiny objects” phase. 

There’s a steady stream of gadgets, software and services being announced. Some are unique and new (predictive health systems), others are repackaging of those from other sectors (Uber-type anything). My advice is to wait until winners shake out.

Now is the time for operators to lay the foundation for the future. Many new in-community technologies rely on wireless connections. Many existing Wi-Fi installations provide coverage by area. The next round will need to provide coverage by number of devices as well.

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