How to Find a Technology Vendor That’s the Right Fit for Your Senior Care Organization
Technology plays an increasingly important role in senior care. From platforms that help monitor resident health to technology that supports senior care staff and operations, there are more options available to senior care communities than ever before. But with technology being a major investment of time and finances, it’s important to find a vendor that is truly the right fit for a senior care organization.
Why the Right Technology Vendor Matters
The rapid growth in use of and need for senior care technology has prompted new companies to enter the industry, which has pros and cons. Peter DeMangus, chief business development officer at Solterra Companies, explains that many technology startups are entering the industry, including startups that monitor health and wellness of residents through nurse call systems, or that focus on using technology to improve staff efficiency.
“We are always careful to make sure we partner with an organization that’s in it for the long term, and that’s big enough so that they can grow with us as we grow,” says DeMangus. “We are approached by companies all the time, because we like to harness cutting-edge technology that ensures a longer length of stay for residents, and to support staff. But we don’t want to create a relationship with a company that gets bought out by a larger organization, meaning that product goes away.” He explains that it’s important that a startup isn’t so small that it can’t sustain the senior care organization’s needs.
How to Narrow Down Your List of Technology Vendors
Mathijs Konings, chief product officer at Tover, notes that industry conferences and trade shows are a great way to connect with potential technology vendors. Senior care communities can engage with vendors in person at trade show booths. “In-person gatherings are the perfect opportunity to learn about the latest products, ask questions, and get the latest scientific insight,” he says.
When evaluating technology vendors, DeMangus asks several key questions:
- Is the vendor capitalized and do they have the money to support the product and business growth?
- Who are the people in the vendor’s organization, and who are the developers?
- Does the vendor have senior healthcare experience?
- Is the vendor in the industry for the right reasons?
- Is the vendor in the industry long-term because they’ve been involved in it in another capacity?
Konings notes that organizations should consider the design quality of the product, as well as whether it’s backed by any evidence-based statistics. Consider whether there are success stories of the technology’s use in different senior care settings, and whether the product is actively being developed and validated.
He also recommends that senior care organizations always request demonstrations of technology or try the product during a designated trial period.
Asking the Right Questions
Asking strategic questions can help a senior care organization better understand a product and a vendor, and determine whether to leave that vendor on their list of potential options. Konings suggests that senior care organizations ask technology vendors the following questions:
- How is the product supported? (i.e tech support, etc.)
- What type of impact has the technology made on the industry as a whole?
- What’s the industry benchmark for implementing this type of technology, and how does this one compare?
- How do we know you offer the best quality?
- Is it easy to use, set up, and learn?
- Is there a knowledge platform?
- Are there updates? How many?
- What recent studies illustrate the most impact?
- How should we ensure this will be implemented in our daily routines? (and not end up in the cupboard)
- How durable is the product? How long will it be supported?
DeMangus notes that senior care organizations should also ask questions about the work the vendor is already doing. Those include questions like, “Who have you worked with,” “Who are you currently working with,” and “What have you achieved with those partners?” Consider asking the vendor about their short-term and long-term plans with the product. “There’s nothing worse than integrating something and then six months later it’s not supported because they’ve been bought out by someone else,” he explains.
“Some companies are on a mission to bring the best product possible to market, while other are just focused on turnover. Some companies do both,” says Konings. “Make sure to know the difference and find a company with a true mission and a good sense of running and growing a sustainable business. These companies will last and keep improving the value they bring to you and your customers.”
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