streamlining expenses and refining services
dominate current technology trends
By Anya Martin
FOR tHe PAst FeW yeARs, seniOR Living sOFtWARe HAs Been steAdiLy incReAsing in FunctiOnALity And sPReAding intO ALL AReAs OF OPeRAtiOns. But economic conditions have forced a shift
in focus from software bells and whistles to the much-needed basics—how operators
› While integrated software
platforms remain effective
for streamlining operations,
the current economic
environment leads many
providers to less expensive
and targeted solutions.
can use software platforms to perform specific functions and streamline expenses while
maintaining the highest levels of quality care to residents.
And while there is still value in software integration—using one all-encompassing
› Handheld devices, like
PDAs and iPhones, offer
convenience and high-tech
features, but haven’t become
mainstream tools in senior
living, due mostly to cost.
operational system that addresses a range of tasks—leading software suppliers are heed-
ing provider feedback and offering solutions that tackle individual challenges.
› Kiosk-like terminals outside
of resident rooms would
allow caregivers to document
delivered services in almost
real time and better meet legal
standards for documentation,
says one expert.
Software suppliers that are leaders in specific niches and those that have separate
modules within their comprehensive packages have an advantage right now, says tom
Patten, president and CEO of PALs software, based in Duluth, Minnesota.
Most of the calls Patten fields now are from current and prospective customers
who need help with basic regulatory or service delivery challenges. Examples include maintaining error-free medication management services, providing compliance alerts for nurses, or documenting services more efficiently. Smart operators
know that “profitability and regulatory compliance go hand in hand,” Patten adds.
Of course, this trend doesn’t mean providers are no longer interested in purchasing comprehensive software packages; however, those investments are more likely
to occur in a better economy. As a result, the more efficiently a supplier serves
providers now may influence future business, when those companies are ready to