When New Tech Means Tension, Try Taking It Step-by-Step

By Kayla Crowder, CDAL I

ntegrating new technologies into your community brings new opportunities, but it can also be challenging. As executive directors, we need to have

a clear understanding of every tool being utilized by our team members, so that we can be more eff ective in our positions. That means undertaking training on everything from marketing and sales systems to new nursing eMAR systems. As a rule, I’ve always taken a proactive

approach to introducing technology into the community. Here are four tips I recommend to make it smoother:

Know the program before your associates do. At Commonwealth Senior Living, we take great pride in providing technology work- shops for department heads before any new programs are rolled out to our communities.

important. It is especially important when launching new technologies. As you roll out your on-site community training program, make it a fun experience by introducing games or allowing plenty of time for hands-on training. For instance, during on-site community training, you could have a few laptop sta- tions set up, and have associates in groups of no more than three share a laptop. Walk through the system step by step

and make your goal to have 100 percent engagement and participation.

Prepare well for execution “showtime!” The day a new system is launched can be stressful. Preparing for that date through positive encouragement and ques- tion-and-answer sessions is important. On the day a program goes live, the ap-

On the day a program goes live, the appropriate department head and I are on the floor with the team, providing real-time coaching, feedback, and troubleshooting assistance.

Usually, this means an off -site meeting

where department heads learn the new program inside and out. Ensuring that the head of each department has a strong understanding of the program is critical to its success.

Be creative and confi dent with training at the community. Creating a positive, fun, and welcoming environment for team members is always

propriate department head and I are on site about 45 minutes prior to launch. When we go live, we are on the fl oor with the team, providing real-time coaching, feedback, and troubleshooting assistance. This is particu- larly important if it is a system used by our front-line team, such as an eMAR system. Typically, this assistance and shadowing

is off ered for the fi rst 72 hours of a new program, around the clock. In the event it is a system that is used until 8 p.m. each


evening, we are avail- able and on-site with our team during the startup process.

Program in your follow-up. Follow up is always important when in- troducing anything new to a senior living community. Prior to our launch

Kayla Crowder, CDAL Executive Director, Commonwealth Senior Living at Hillsville

date, I schedule out follow-up meetings two weeks after a new system has been imple- mented. This allows time for associates to meet, compare notes, and talk about the pros and cons of a program. Take note of areas of opportunities where your team may need more help and prepare to provide that help at the follow-up meeting. A very important part of follow-up: Rec-

ognize and show appreciation to associates for implementing the system and for their hard work.

Remember: It’s worth it. Technology is playing an increasingly im- portant role in senior living communities across the country. These new systems and platforms can help us provide better care for our residents as long as we make the im- plementation process a collective experience for all associates. Team members will only be excited or

enthusiastic about something if they feel their executive directors are as well—that is something I take to heart. Follow these steps and I know you will be successful in launching new technologies within your communities.

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