Advisors, which helps portfolios of proper- ties manage and negotiate cable agreements. In some communities, he said, purchasing internet access is still left to the residents. At one property, Scutt said, Worth found that 90 percent of the residents were paying full retail price for internet access. If a commu- nity or community system purchased and managed access for the residents, those rates would come down significantly. Senior living communities can be home

to clear redundancies and overlaps, such as residents paying for access alongside the community paying for access for its staff— all from the same provider. “I think what happens a lot is the owners

of these properties manage these agree- ments as they come up as a necessary evil rather than really negotiating and using the leverage and buying power that they have to get the best prices,” Scutt said.

Patrick said he doubts many residents

pick communities based on the quality of a Wi-Fi system, but that does not diminish its potential influence. “Certainly the satisfaction scores of your

residents are going to go down if they have trouble getting online,” Patrick said. “It can have a big impact that way…resident satisfaction itself is a return on investment.” As communities search for ways to at-

tract families and friends for more frequent visits, Scutt said technology infrastructure improvements can play a major role in cre- ating a welcoming atmosphere. “The quality of life goes up not only for

the residents but for their guests,” Scutt said. “It makes it more likely for them to get visitors. These are intangibles, but they’re important intangibles.” Manning said researchers and industry need to collaborate to better measure the

“When you look at managing a long, complex list of services and making sure they are delivered throughout the day to sometimes hundreds of different residents, you can see how the role of technology has become very important,” Palmquist said.

When making purchasing decisions for

new technology, Patrick warns against the pitfalls of saving money in the short term and creating larger costs in the long term. “I don’t know how many networks we’ve

needed to go in and augment or even rip out and replace,” Patrick said.

Weighing ROI Measuring the return on investment from technology upgrades is not often a simple calculation. Among the clear, micro-level improvements that can be measured are staff time efficiencies, reduction in duplicate data entry, more frequent feedback from residents and families, and family applica- tions that can be used as a community profit center, Blazek said.

effectiveness of technology in senior living settings and to determine the best ways of measuring ROI for technology invest- ments. However, she said, some quantifiable big-picture measurements do highlight the improvements technology can trigger. “When residents and staff members have

access to technology that supports them, they have lower rates of move out or turn- over, respectively, as well as higher levels of resident satisfaction, compared with senior living [communities] that lack good technology,” Manning said. “The ROI on the ‘connected-life’ models are promising. These models strive to integrate all aspects of technology (including smart home features, connected wellness and social engagement platforms, and environmental


control features) into a single, easy-to-use and responsive system for residents.”

Following through Bernard Krafsig, director of IT at Bishop Gadsden, said the backing of leadership is essential to the successful implementation of new technology, especially when navigating the inevitable learning curve. Introducing new technology can be a dis-

ruptive process that requires commitment and deft change management, Palmquist said. “Once you make a decision to deploy something, it’s not the end of the process,” Palmquist said. “It’s the beginning.” Manning said tepid support from lead-

ership can sink new technology, and staff also can prove resistant to introducing new technology to their customary way of doing things. An investment in new technology in- frastructure that does not include an effort to introduce and promote new capabilities to users, such as staff and residents, often will lead to the new technology’s usefulness falling short of expectations, Manning said. “Low adoption continues to be a problem

for both residents and staff because of gaps in training and onboarding protocols for new technology,” Manning said. “There is proven science for training residents, families, and staff members on using new technology, and OneView sees getting training right as import- ant as designing an exceptional system. Other gaps that cause underutilization include lack of awareness, access, and acceptance of new technology. When encouraging residents to use new technology, it is important to make them feel confident and encouraged.” Looking ahead, plugging technology gaps

and keeping up with trends will only grow more essential for senior living communities, Manning said. There’s little time to waste. “As the baby boomers begin to consider

their options for long-term care, technology options will be a key part of their evalua- tion,” Manning said. “Many are tech savvy and have high expectations for technological amenities. It is an exciting time. The future is uncertain but we can expect more technolog- ical advances that will support and improve our quality of life well into old age.”

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