The start of a new year is a time when we make resolutions and plans for the new year ahead. It’s also a time when businesses establish budgets and clear objectives to make the next 12 months of work as productive and profitable as possible. And that should include looking at mission-critical software systems to ensure the best tools are in place to get the job done.
In the senior living industry change is the only constant. New regulations affect how we provide care to residents, occupancy ups and downs mean new techniques and channels for reaching prospective residents, and economic fluctuations affect everything from expansion to acquisitions to construction of new communities. And each year the population of seniors continues to grow, which means operators need to have the best infrastructure and staff in place to take care of more and more residents. All of this is complicated to manage, which is why technology platforms are so critical for success.
Before kicking the tires on your existing technology stack, make sure you understand exactly what you want to get out of your software and apps. That may sound obvious, but it is all too common for organizations to lose sight of the end game. If you’ve ever spent hours doing data entry and running reports from different systems rather than focusing on productive, meaningful work, you have probably wondered if your technology works for you…or if you are working for the technology.
What to Consider
There is no one single factor that makes a technology platform the right one to have in your arsenal, but there are a number of questions that business leaders need to ask when they are evaluating their existing infrastructures. The first question is, “Does it do what I need?” For example, your billing software could be fine for sending out invoices to residents, but it might not manage Medicaid payments. Or your CRM may be great at nurturing and closing prospects, but what happens once they become a resident? Does it connect to other resident functions such as billing and care? These types of gaps in systems can create productivity and revenue loss.
You may also want to consider how modern your software is. Two or three years might not seem like a long time, but in the world of software it is a lifetime. Older software platforms that need to be updated and upgraded can create disruption to business. Today, the best system is one that’s cloud-based and scales as your business grows, with continuous enhancements that address changes in the industry and business demands.
Another consideration is whether the platform is designed specifically to manage senior housing, with the flexibility to customize workflows to suit the operator’s processes. Is your software partner one that has deep industry experience and understands the day-to-day inner workings of taking care of residents and managing a community?
Integration is Key
One of the hot technology buzzwords today “interoperability.” It’s an important concept, because one of the biggest causes of technology failure is an inability for systems to fully connect and share information in real-time, whether that be within your organization or with outside entities.
It's especially helpful for senior living communities to adopt technologies that don’t require “handshakes” between systems developed by different vendors. Having all the activities that facilitate the lifecycle of the resident experience – from marketing and sales to billing and care - fully integrated in one platform creates a seamless exchange of information that allows professionals to access the data they need in real time without having to log into multiple systems or track down information stored on spreadsheets. At the same time, an open platform allows you to seamlessly integrate with your favorite apps so that you can have the exact solutions you desire for your business.
Measuring the effectiveness of your technology is critical for ROI, but it goes far beyond financial considerations. The recent problems with the aviation industry certainly affected the airlines, but more importantly, the tens of thousands of people who were left stranded at airports all over the country. In senior living, better technology leads to better service and safety, which in turn leads to happier and healthier residents. At the end of the day, that is what really matters.
Is it time to do a check-in on your senior living software? Email us to discuss at email@example.com