Technology today, although essential, often is overwhelming. Consider all of the technology that is used in an average senior living community: mobile duress, wander management, access control, security cameras, bed monitors, phones, computers and more.

For many communities, these technologies function individually, meaning countless alarms, notifications and data to keep track of. Unfortunately, this isolation of systems oftentimes results in inefficient management and decreased safety. There is a solution, however: interoperability enables computer systems or software to exchange and make use of information, allowing senior living owners and operators to leverage their systems more effectively, improving both efficiency and safety.

For instance, many senior living communities have front door access control so employees can monitor who enters the building. Often an employee is stationed near the front door to determine who is able to enter the community simply by viewing the person from the desk. Not only does this system require an employee to always be posted at the front door; it also puts the employee in eyesight of the person entering the building, which potentially can be dangerous.

With interoperability, door access can be streamlined. Then, when someone requests access, an alert can be sent to an employee’s phone with live video feed of the guest and the employee quickly can decide whether to grant the person access from wherever he or she is in the building. Not only is this a safer procedure, because the employee doesn’t have to be in eyesight; it also is more convenient because the employee is able to be more productive with his or her time than simply monitoring the front door. 

Many other tasks can be streamlined with interoperability as well. Mobile duress systems are a heavily used solution in assisted living, but duress technology’s effect can be much more substantial when it doesn’t function as a siloed system.

If a mobile duress alert is missed or responded to too slowly, serious consequences can result. Interoperability allows for users to create escalations and send customized alerts, which can improve response times and ensure that residents get urgent help in an emergency situation. This scenario also applies to bed sensors, door sensors and environmental alerts for issues such as a burst pipe. Rather than an alert only going to one user or end point, interoperability allows for these systems to communicate to a wide range of users through multiple alerts and constant flow of information, getting the right information to the right individuals in time.

When these systems all are connected, you also can begin to aggregate data collected through the use of each system. Whether you want to track how many times a resident gets out of bed at night or monitor staff response times, this information can be logged for you automatically. Data aggregation capability allows for the data to be analyzed, so you are able to spot potential issues or make necessary adjustments to staffing or protocol. For example, if a consistent spike of alerts occurs every Monday, then you can schedule an extra staff member to work on those days to keep up with the workload and ensure that response times don’t drop and staff members don’t become overwhelmed.

Bringing all of the data from your various systems into one platform is important, because it can reveal patterns that otherwise may have gone unnoticed, such as the changing health or habits of a resident. For instance, if a resident is skipping meals, checking in later in the day than usual and getting out of bed more often each night, staff members might not notice. If all these data are aggregated in one place, however, then these trends can reveal themselves and staff members can step in to make sure the resident is alright and can begin to look for the cause of the issue.

When your technology systems are operating in silos, they are only good for one function. When they are interconnected, however, they can be leveraged to better meet your community’s needs as a whole. Interoperability empowers staff members and administrators to be more situationally aware so they are able to make informed decisions and take the proper actions to improve residents’ quality of life.