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Senior Living Operators Plan to Up Tech Budgets With Focus on Health Care, Staffing

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Health care payments and a need to better communicate with and engage staff are having an outsized impact on the kinds of technology investments senior living operators expect to make in the coming year.

That’s according to a new Senior Housing News survey recently published in collaboration with senior living technology company CarePredict.

On the whole, senior living operators are continuing to spend on technology and plan to further do so in 2024.

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Slightly less than half of the responding companies said they plan to increase tech budgets by as much as 25% in 2024. Just over a quarter said they plan budget increases of between 25% and 50%, and 3% said they planned to increase tech spending by 50% or more.

Another 3% of operators said they were decreasing tech budgets for the year ahead, and 18% planned no changes.

Senior Housing News 2024 State of Senior Living Technology Survey

Among the report’s top takeaways is that the “health care payment landscape,” such as collaborating with providers of Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, is driving senior living operators to take a bigger focus on data collection and analysis.

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Just over a quarter of respondents (28%) noted they had made a technology decision motivated by those trends. Another 27% said they planned to make such a decision in the future.

The top-ranked driver of technology decisions motivated by health care payments included the need to share data with residents and collect info on their health outcomes.

Of the 97 senior living executives that responded to the survey, 69% responded they anticipate partnering with health care providers and primary care physicians for on-site services. Another 34% noted they will participate in Medicare Advantage plans in 2024, while 26% said they will become a participant in an ACO and 15% said they anticipate collaborating with managed Medicaid plans in the coming year.

Senior Housing News 2024 State of Senior Living Technology Survey

“The operators that we’re talking to are making or beginning to make a transition from thinking of themselves as providers of hospitality … to really awakening to the fact that keeping residents healthy is a mandate,” John Schwartz, senior vice president of sales and marketing at CarePredict, told Senior Housing News. 

Schwartz added the number of respondents wanting to partner with health care providers is a big shift for the industry, validating what CarePredict has heard from operators this year.

“This shift to health care opens up new revenue streams, new ways to think about the care they provide and with whom they partner to deliver it,” Schwartz said. 

Artificial intelligence is an emerging technology that 64% of the survey’s respondents said they were considering for their communities. About half of respondents identified other emerging technologies including staff engagement and communication (51%).

More than half of the respondents (51%) identified both return on investment and cost and staff efficiency as top reasons for adopting new technology, followed by resident satisfaction at 43%.

Senior Housing News 2024 State of Senior Living Technology Survey

Schwartz said he believes the senior living industry will get involved in “teasing apart” what AI means and how it differs from predictive analytics. Staffing challenges and the need for data only intensify the increased demand for technology, he added.

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