3 Lessons from the Groundbreaking Tech Summit for Seniors

Senior housing operators continue to show a growing interest in technological innovation to help deliver quality care and a positive staff experience. And for two days in August, senior housing leaders met with venture capitalists, equity partners and innovators to build their knowledge and answer their questions during the inaugural Silicon Valley Senior Housing Summit, sponsored by SafelyYou. , a world leading AI video technology provider. in the care of the elderly.

These leading executives came together outside of Palo Alto, California to connect, collaborate and create change, all for the benefit of senior residents and staff.

What they found were three keys to innovation in the lives of older people:

  • Innovation is fundamental both for the needs of today and for the objectives of tomorrow
  • Operators need strategic alliances with trusted technology partners
  • Innovation should be on an operator’s agenda every day

They also learned this: The connection between venture capital investment and senior housing operators is only getting stronger.

Innovation is fundamental both for the needs of today and for the objectives of tomorrow

A few years ago, Pleasanton, California-based operator HumanGood devised a new process for its technology innovation. The strategy: focus on technology that offers real solutions to real problems, and then scale that technology in their communities.

“That discipline has allowed us to quickly weed out the things that don’t solve a real problem (or) don’t solve it in a measurable way,” John Cochrane, HumanGood’s president and CEO, said during the summit.

That focus on measurable solutions to concrete problems is HumanGood’s North Star innovation. And he talks about one of the topics highlighted during the summit and that is found in the SafelyYou 2022 State of Falls report. To be successful in the lives of older people, operators must balance many competing priorities, such as staffing versus NOI, and as such are challenged with finding the time and resources to devote to innovation and innovation. technology.

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Take fall prevention, for example. Roughly 80% of operators surveyed in the 2022 report find technology to be very effective in reducing crashes. However, when asked about the solutions, those operators expressed their dissatisfaction. They were overwhelmed by the process and cost of implementing the technology and training their staff, challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated.

“COVID amplified our need and absolutely accelerated our adoption of technology,” Cochrane said. “And as we seek to create a culture of innovation, something I couldn’t get people to accept five years ago, now they say, ‘I get it.’ But if it doesn’t make life easier for them from day one, they leave.”

For Doris-Ellie Sullivan, president of Retirement Unlimited, technology is a win when there is true collaboration between providers and carriers.

“I think the ability to openly share ideas and let people look at the other side of your operations makes it better for everyone,” he said. “And then we can push the technology further. People are open with their data and communication and their struggles. Struggles are where growth comes from.”

To drive innovation, operators need strategic alliances with trusted technology partners

While collaboration between senior housing operators and venture capitalists remains rare, the opportunity is growing. The question is who should take the initiative.

According to venture capitalists, the answer is traders. Investors at the summit said top executives need to be proactive in their own innovation and pick a champion to drive the industry forward.

But too often, operators felt that technology providers couldn’t adequately show how their technology would solve the biggest problems they face.

“We’re an industry that thrives on what I call ‘steam and good feelings,'” Cochrane said. “We thrive on promises (like) ‘This will make your life easier,’ but no one can quantify it. And I can tell you that if you can’t quantify it for me, that’s a quick no.”

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Essentially, both sides are saying the same thing: that the opportunity for strategic partnership and collaboration is ripe, provided both sides can adequately and proactively communicate what they need and want from the other.

Quickly test and learn: innovation should be on the agenda every day

For senior housing innovation to work, all silos that impede communication between senior housing, capital partners and technology providers must be eliminated. That communication is then a continuous process. Technological innovation does not end with implementation. Operators need continuous measurement and strategic insight conversations to understand how they can drive better results. ROI can be difficult to pin down, so operators need to understand the full impact of new solutions in order to justify the cost.

If a solution is intended to improve the resident experience, for example, there isn’t always a standardized way to measure what that improvement looks like. Operators must be able to articulate that an X% improvement in resident satisfaction is worth Y dollars to investors. To do that, they must approach innovation as a daily exercise, not a set-it-and-forget-it effort.

That’s what Alan Fairbanks, executive vice president of Olathe, Kan.-based Bickford Senior Living, sees as key to the success of senior housing innovation: finding a partner who works with them every day.

“That’s what I love about the SafelyYou platform, is that they teach us and stay with us and hold our hand through the whole process to make sure we get the maximum benefit from the technology,” he said at the summit. “And I think that’s what a lot of technology providers miss.”

This article is sponsored by SafelyYou. To learn more about bringing the best technological innovation to your community, read the state of the cataracts report here.

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