6 Tech Takeaways from the Annual Meeting

CAST | November 20, 2019

Cybersecurity, infrastructure, advance planning, staff retention, and engaging and advising residents on their tech journey are among the key learnings.

Key themes from the LeadingAge Annual Meeting & EXPO, held Oct. 27-30, 2019, in San Diego, CA, can help providers choose their next tech steps.
 
“Over the past couple years, we’ve seen an explosion of technology: simplified user interfaces, stimulating and appealing content, and tools designed to increase social connections, entertain, and help older adults engage with staff and caregivers,” Majd Alwan, Ph.D., CAST executive director and LeadingAge senior vice president for technology, said at the meeting.
 
Check out these learnings in a recent HealthTech article, “LeadingAge 2019: 6 Smart Takeaways on Tech and Senior Living.” (Listen to the full article.)

1. Seniors Want Tech Today, Not Tomorrow

As more and older adults adopt technology, organizations can lead them by offering classes, tech support, and peer groups. “You have a really unique opportunity to be a resource as a trusted adviser — to be educators, to expose them to these new tools that can help them thrive,” said Scott Collins, president and CEO of the venture group Link-age.

2. Residential Care Centers Need Strong Infrastructure

Wiring buildings for the Internet of Medical Things devices, smart devices, and smart rooms is critical and can be difficult in older buildings. “Technology can be integrated into every facet of a building,” said Nick Patel, president of the Asbury Group Integrated Technologies, a consulting arm of LeadingAge CAST Patron Asbury Communities. Industrywide, he said, “we’re still seeing connectivity as a major issue.”

3. Staff Shortages Will Make Assistive Tech Crucial

Technology can automate tasks and enable collaboration that saves staff time. In this way, technology can aid in staff retention for organizations of all sizes. “If we’re not giving employees what they desire, we’re going to lose them,” said Kathleen Weissberg, education director for Select Rehabilitation, with 16,000 employees. 

4. Keep Senior Needs and Limitations in Mind

While choosing technologies, consider residents' eyesight, mobility, and dexterity, said Tom Meyers, senior managing director of Ziegler, a LeadingAge Gold Partner with CAST Focus. Then train residents to use tools well and safely, everything from smart speakers to telehealth that can give residents care or keep them out of the hospital.

5. Don’t Ignore HIPAA and Security Concerns

Today’s extensive data collection means that clinical settings can be hacked or can accidentally expose data, leading to substantial HIPAA fines. Staff-wide cybersecurity training and network segmentation are non-negotiable, speakers said. “You’re not only talking about securing the device or the sensor; you need to secure the data,” said Mark Franco, an associate attorney with Whiteford Taylor Preston.
 
CAST Cybersecurity Resources
 
CAST’s Cybersecurity Resources can help. Use the Cybersecurity White Paper, Case Studies, and Self-benchmarking Questionnaire to find and strengthen areas where your organization may be at risk—and to learn how to respond if you are attacked.
 
The CAST article “Opportunities, and Risks, with New Smart Voice Technology in Senior Living” can guide you on privacy and security concerns for voice-controlled devices. Find more meeting takeaways in this month’s Tech Time article “Smart Speakers: Security and Implementation.”

6. Plan for Growth, but Only Buy What You Need

Plan first, with a long-term strategy to account for future growth and possibly with an initial pilot.  Engage residents and staff to help identify needs.

Missed the Annual Meeting? 

Here are the technology sessions and topics discussed

We hope you can join/rejoin in the learning and conversation at the LeadingAge Leadership Summit, April 20-22, and the Collaborative Care & Health IT Innovations Summit, June 14-16, in Washington DC.