Disruption in business is inevitable, and it is up to operators and owners to embrace the changes that come with innovation — or risk stagnation amidst growing inefficiencies.

Cutting-edge technology exists to advance senior housing providers with consolidating data, analyzing trends, and improving resident satisfaction and security, but only for those willing to adopt and embrace the disruption. Unfortunately, many will avoid innovative trends and stay rooted to the old ways of doing business. While many are lagging in crossing the chasm, those who have taken the leap will have the leading edge over competitors. The rewards of adoption are greater than the risks of avoidance.

Disruptive technology has had a transformative effect on the senior housing industry. Right now, cloud-based data platforms are being used throughout many senior living organizations to provide a centralized database across departments within communities and the entire portfolio. A repository of resident data will assist operators with actionable insights and assist with projecting future trends.

More and more community leaders have implemented high-speed WiFi, resident engagement tools, advanced surveillance and data collection strategies. Early adopters have taken the first steps toward committing to technology and increasing their competitive position, but too many organizations still are avoiding modern business intelligence tools. Without the ability to effectively parse and standardize the data across disparate systems within a community and across the entire portfolio, leaders are missing the opportunity to take their operations to the next level of excellence.

The senior housing and skilled nursing sectors are just as vulnerable to unexpected trends, economic shifts and changes in state and federal regulations they always have been. It’s not enough to have access to key data; the information must be digestible and swiftly delivered for a community to remain profitable and efficient. This truth is not going to change in the future; it will only become more prominent as more communities increase technology investments in search of greater productivity.

Fight or flight

Today, technology is developed at such a fast rate that it’s easy to fall behind the curve or want to run from it altogether, but this development is only accelerating. Operators are left with two main choices: fight and make the necessary changes to succeed, or flee and avoid embracing the disruption while competitors grow more agile and knowledgeable about how to strategize and optimize operations.

Consider the benefits granted by business intelligence and performance data management tools — and the ways a community is hindered without them. It is crucial for communities to be able to project their net operating income on a monthly basis, particularly during periods of economic uncertainty. Having access to historical data is a key element of this ability, but breaking those data down into relevant, bite-sized chunks can be time-consuming.

Gathering and understanding relevant departmental and community data becomes more labor intensive over time as data sets grow in scale and technology becomes more precise. That is why it is important for operators to take on technology that minimizes the time spent on reporting data and maximizing their available resources to address community needs. Cutting-edge business intelligence tools now can display key data through visual dashboards or numerical reports, allowing community leaders to make accurate projections for the future in record time. Once freed from the processes of collecting, organizing and deciphering data, operators can focus on what they do best: providing the best possible care and services for residents.

Conversely, those who avoid the implementation of advanced business intelligence tools will have a difficult time noticing inefficiency during a down market and will struggle to scale their business as the economy improves. Without the breadth, depth and speed provided by tools such as these, operators will have to allocate more time to understand market conditions and trends.

Historic data, here and now

Operating with an efficient business intelligence tool is becoming less of a luxury and more of a necessity. The biggest issue facing senior housing at the crossroads of technology and innovation is avoiding data-driven technology while others adopt it into their scope of meeting initiatives.

An efficient in-depth analysis of historic data undoubtedly will become the cornerstone of competition in the senior living sector. The real value of data analysis can be difficult to quantify from the outside looking in, so consider a few examples of how a senior living community can improve operations through the adoption of business intelligence technology:

  • Improving occupancy: Analysis of the ebbs and flows of historical occupancy trends is essential to projections and can be used to improve marketing efforts and aid in strategic planning to meet census goals.
  • Managing labor: Business intelligence tools can help manage your community’s labor demands and the care needs of residents amidst economic fluctuation as well as unprecedented events.
  • Monitoring resident care and safety: Managing life safety events such as fall risks, fire drills, care assessments and other factors can help providers respond proactively and improving quality of care with access to real-time data for prompt decision-making.

The longer a community waits before embracing the disruption of technology to gain the operational efficiencies and data-driven results, the more challenges it will face in keeping up with the industry. Competition waits for no one, and the best defense is a good offense. While one community avoids the power of innovative technology, the other is adopting the disruption for stability, growth and success.