Technology investments in senior living and care are returning to “normal priorities” after previous focus on the COVID-19 pandemic and infection control systems, according to the results of a new survey.
Specialist investment bank Ziegler released the results of its December 2022 CFO Hotline survey this week, showing the top tech spending categories for senior living last year — which Ziegler defines as assisted living, independent living, memory care and skilled nursing.
Conducted every two years in conjunction with LeadingAge CAST, the survey reflects the responses of more than 150 long-term care CFOs and financial professionals primarily from nonprofit communities with significant continuing care retirement community/life plan community orientation.
The top five technology investments revolve around information and communication technology, or ICT:
- Infrastructure (high-speed Internet connection, wired/wireless), 74%,
- Electronic medical/health records systems, 54 percent,
- Electronic point-of-care/point-of-service documentation systems, 51%,
- workforce/staffing scheduling systems, 47%, and
- Access control/roaming management systems, 47%.
Spending on monitoring technologies increased over the past year, including automated fall detectors (18% in 2022, 8% in 2020), user-activated emergency response systems (41% in 2022, 28% in 2020 ) and physical exercise and rehabilitation technology (23% in 2022 and 18% in 2020). Forty percent of survey participants said technology support for residents has also increased, compared to 29 percent in 2020.
Overall, respondents said they spend an average of 8.3 percent of their total capital budget on technology. That figure is up from 8% in 2020 but down from 12.2% in 2014.
In the past year, organizations reported they were the least likely to have invested in medication management technology (15%), shared care planning and care coordination tools (15%), and robotic process automation (3%).
In 2020, the top five investments showing a clear link to the pandemic include video conferencing capabilities, ICT infrastructure, resident access to the internet and social networking sites, infection control systems and access control/roaming management systems, Ziegler said.
The survey found that future spending in the coming year will focus on:
- ICT infrastructure, 37%,
- Data analysis tools, 31%,
- Electronic medical/health records, 31%,
- access control/roaming management systems, 29%, and
- Electronic point-of-care/point-of-service platforms, 29 percent.
Respondents indicated that spending on infection control systems and employee/resident screening technology will decrease in the coming year, and that their technology investments are shifting to meet the needs of baby boomers entering the long-term care system. This year’s oldest baby boomer is 77 and the youngest is 59.