John O'Connor illustration
McKnight’s Editorial Director John O’Connor
John O'Connor
John O’Connor

Two undeniable themes emerged during this week’s LeadingAge conference in Denver.

The first is that a technology revolution is clearly underway. A second is that it’s nowhere near the finish line.

It was hard to walk the expo floor and not notice the many new firms that are either tech-centric or tech-dependent. Perhaps most conspicuous of all are emerging vendors dedicated to the proposition that staffing agencies are living on borrowed time.

These newbies are focused on providing additional staffing resources that are vetted, graded and available when needed. I counted at least four firms that match that description.

Then there are the vendors that are creatively applying new tech to old problems, including foodservice, resident lifting and resident activities. These, too, were present in never-before-seen abundance.

On the educational side, more than a few sessions focused on harnessing tech tools to solve payment, caregiving and amenity-related challenges.

Yet for all the promise technology holds, there was a sense that many vendors are still working on things that may not be ready for a few years, or that may require partnerships and/or mergers to complete.

What that suggests is that we may soon be seeing quite a few vendor announcements of the recent nuptials variety, as tech firms toil to fill in blanks and/or complete started projects.

There may have been a time when this was a high-touch rather than high-tech field. Clearly, that description is no longer accurate. We are in the midst of tech-driven change that is going to affect and possibly readjust virtually every aspect of senior living. Buckle up!

John O’Connor is editorial director for McKnight’s Senior Living and its sister media brands, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, which focuses on skilled nursing, and McKnight’s Home Care. Read more of his columns here.