Panel argues new technology and data tools are the neglected key to future long-term care success

Photo credit: Tori Soper

The adoption of a variety of innovative technologies and data tools is essential to the future success of the long-term care sector. A panel of top sector leaders agreed that not enough is being done at the moment and that delays could be costly.

“What else can we do?” asked Kathy Williams (pictured), an independent facility operator and president of the Arizona Medical Association Foundation.

What is her answer? Collect better data.

“How can we identify the situation of our residents? [practice] Preventive medicine? ” she asked during one mac knights VIP executive conversation held in Chicago last week

Roberto Muniz, president and CEO of New Jersey-based Parker Health Group and chairman of LeadingAge’s board of directors, believes that technology derived from artificial intelligence will increase the value of that data in the coming years. He emphasized that it will be one of the solutions on the collection front. He sees AI becoming essential to helping residents avoid costly emergency room visits and hospitalizations.

Others shared Muniz’s emphasis on predictive data to drive improved health outcomes.

It’s important to look for “actionable data, not just data,” said panelist Saby Sabino, senior vice president at tech company Centrix. “…Technology that has integrations to not only identify top caregivers and improve efficiency… but to identify what’s going on in a resident’s life.”

With this actionable data, healthcare providers can identify social determinants of health and know that residents are in decline or at risk of decline before the signs become apparent. He explained that it is recognizable. That “preclinical” data is critical to achieving better and cheaper health outcomes.

While data and AI are needed as “productivity tools,” more specific technologies can be helpful as well, said Andy Karl, an adjunct faculty member and lead instructor in Georgetown University’s Administrator Training Program.

“If we can leverage technology to make one nursing assistant as productive in the future as three people are today, that’s the technology we need,” Karl explained. “But we have to be very intentional about technology. So we certainly need data, but we also need robotics. Anything that reduces steps…anything that reduces injuries. Robbie. We don’t need little robots that walk around and tell jokes to residents. We need robots that can lift, because the number one cause of workers’ compensation in our industry is back injuries. . We know this – people lose careers they love because they hurt their backs.”

Beyond the daily care process, providers also need to collect and understand data about Medicare Advantage, said Deke Cateau, CEO of Atlanta-based provider AG Rhodes.

“The other thing I would say is our payers,” he said. “They have more and more responsibilities, such as Medicare Advantage. And I think the more we understand them, the better we understand data…This industry…isn’t very good at collecting data and scrubbing data. No. It’s not what we do, it’s because we care about people.”

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