In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many providers are looking for ways to use technology to keep residents and staff safe and healthy. One of the best ways to achieve safer communities is through an infection prevention strategy inclusive of technology. Technology design can help providers reach this goal. By staying up to date on the newest systems and integration possibilities, Senior Living technology designers can help you create safer environments, more operational efficiencies and a stronger return on your investment.
One of Direct Supply’s Senior Living technology experts is Patrick Mahoney, Senior Technology Designer. With nearly 30 years of experience, Patrick designs information and communications technology systems as well as electronic safety and security systems into Senior Living projects. As the Vice Chair of the BICSI Standards Committee, Patrick helps write the standards and design manuals for the industry. Here he shares how technology design can help you improve outcomes:
What is technology design?
Technology design is the practice of combining the latest electronic technology communications and security systems to create the best possible solution for a community’s unique needs. As Senior Living technology systems continue to evolve, it’s important to make sure the solutions a community is installing today will serve it well into the future.
A technology designer works with providers to ensure the infrastructure for network communications and power are properly integrated into the design in both renovation and new construction projects. For renovations, the technology designer conducts site visits and provides technology drawings. In new construction projects, the technology designer provides AutoCAD or Revit technology drawings in addition to an array of construction documentation and support. See a full list of deliverables broken out by project type.
Why is technology design necessary for Senior Living communities?
Senior Living communities could benefit from technology design for a number of reasons:
Fix Outdated WiFi
Many communities have outdated WiFi networks, which are essential for the latest technology solutions used by residents and staff. Updating the WiFi infrastructure, eliminating WiFi dead spots and improving building bandwidth could help providers offer better care.
It will also help improve marketability. Baby boomers are already using technology, and they’re going to expect that technology is available in their new homes to stay connected to friends and family.
Reduce Stress on Staff
Today, technology in Senior Living facilities has become part of the building function for residents and staff. There is a tremendous burden on staff, and the right technology can help alleviate some of the strain. The infrastructure for that technology should be part of the design and not an afterthought.
Receive Expert Advice
The wide array of technology systems on the market can quickly overwhelm a community’s network. Trusting a technology expert to create the right solution for a specific community can relieve the hassle and stress of managing a large technology project.
Why are more and more communities adopting new technologies?
As we look to the future, many providers will implement products from Senior Living technology companies that help them boost infection prevention, simplify processes, promote socialization and improve safety. In fact, we’re already starting to see this shift. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the number of Senior Living leaders who believe technology has a clear return on investment has increased from 24% to 48%¹.
During the pandemic, isolated residents have adopted more and more consumer products to stay connected. In addition, care providers are using the communications network for wireless systems and handheld devices.
Many providers are implementing solutions that will automatically transfer vital signs readings from Bluetooth-connected equipment into an electronic medical record (EMR). These systems, like DS smart®, help operators save time and eliminate transcription errors, which is important in today’s environment to accurately track trends.
Another example of simplifying processes is an intercom system that reports to staff members’ phones. Instead of staff physically answering the door when the doorbell rings, they’ll be able to see a video of who is standing at the door on their mobile devices.
Telehealth has grown exponentially since March. Many high-tech Senior Living communities are adding a hard-wired data outlet to each resident room to connect telehealth equipment. When telehealth equipment is not in use, the outlet can be used by residents to stream videos, boosting marketability and reducing the strain on a community’s WiFi network.
In 2020, security became one of the top Senior Living technology trends. Now more than ever, providers want to ensure residents, staff and guests are safe by implementing technologies such as:
- Thermal temperature scanners² to screen visitors
- Artificial intelligence apps paired with video surveillance analytics to monitor social distancing, mask detection, contact tracing and more
- Real-time location systems that record the movements of staff and residents
- An AI-enabled camera system that detects falls of individuals with dementia in real time
How can Direct Supply help with a community’s technology needs?
Depending on your project’s needs and your budget, Direct Supply offers three levels of technology design:
Free Design Assistance: Ideal for 1 to 2 technology system replacements in existing buildings where tech drawings aren’t needed
Tech Design Lite: Perfect for 3+ technology systems in small additions, renovations or new construction projects already underway
Tech Design Standard: Receive complete support on multiple systems for large additions, new construction or pre-construction work
We also launched an array of products that help Senior Living communities fight COVID-19, including thermal temperature scanners, a real-time location system and SafelyYou, an AI-enabled falls prevention solution.
As senior care technology becomes more complex, we can help you bridge the gap between the technology of today and the technology of the future with our technology design services. To find out which solution will best meet your unique needs, call 1-800-889-6504, or fill out the form below for a free consultation.
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¹Novotney, A. (2020, September 11). Tech tools earning their keep during the pandemic: survey. Retrieved from https://www.mcknightsseniorliving.com/home/news/business-daily-news/tech-tools-earning-their-keep-during-the-pandemic-survey/?mpweb=1326-11863-634833
²This is not a medical device. Statements regarding this temperature device have not been evaluated by the FDA. This temperature device should not be solely or primarily relied upon to diagnose or exclude a diagnosis of COVID-19, or any other disease or health condition. Elevated body temperature in the context of use should be confirmed with secondary evaluation methods.