Key Findings from the “Taking the Resident Experience to the Next Level” Webinar


Christine Bush, CMSH, director of independent living at Ohio Living Westminster-Thurber

On October 12th, I Advance Senior Care had the pleasure of hosting a webinar titled “Taking the Resident Experience to the Next Level: An Inside Look at How Ohio Living Did Just That.” Sponsored by Icon (formerly Caremerge), the webinar featured two presenters: Christine Bush, CMSH, director of independent living at Ohio Living Westminster-Thurber; and Josh Studzinski, SVP of marketing & partnerships at Icon.

Key Findings from the Webinar

Studzinski began the webinar by discussing a challenge that senior care organizations face: How to improve the resident experience. This includes improving quality of care, getting residents active, addressing social isolation, and helping residents feel independent, happy, and healthy within the senior living community. He posed that technology, communication, engagement, data, and insights can help senior care organizations achieve those goals and improve the resident experience.

With quality communication technology, senior care organizations can see benefits including staff satisfaction, more efficient use of staff time, family engagement, and more. But for the best results, it’s important that a senior care organization carefully select the technology that’s right for their needs and goals.

Choosing the Right Technology

Studzinski noted that several key elements are essential when choosing a technology platform. Consolidating systems, such as those for family communication, signage, and community engagement, into a single platform, makes for more efficient usage and increases the value of the technology.

Integration within existing platforms is also critical. Studzinski encourages senior care organizations to choose a technology that has open APIs for the most effective integration with the programs already in use.

Finally, with so many communication platforms available, it’s more important than ever that organizations take the time to evaluate and find a platform that truly works for their needs.

How Ohio Living Leveraged the Benefits of Icon’s Technology


Josh Studzinski, SVP of marketing & partnerships at Icon

Icon has combined VoiceFriend’s communication system with Caremerge’s engagement solutions, creating a comprehensive technology suite that saves staff time and drives resident and community engagement. Bush discussed Ohio Living’s use of the technology and the benefits that the community saw.

She described several of these benefits and applications in great detail, such as:

  • The platform is highly customizable and versatile.
  • Icon was highly responsive to requests, including the request to turn off birthday announcements within the platform.
  • The use of electronic newsletters resulted in an estimated 70% reduction in paper costs.
  • Changes to the resident directory alert residents when someone new has moved in, allowing current residents to reach out and welcome the new resident.
  • Residents receive digital reminders about upcoming events, which encourages resident engagement and reduces the burden on staff to remind residents about events.
  • A digital campus map is easily accessible and can be reassuring to new residents.
  • Residents can easily access up-to-date dining and menu information, and can also make reservations or order food.
  • Key information, like upcoming events, can be displayed on screens throughout the campus lobbies.
  • Residents can place work orders and receive updates on the work, avoiding phone tag.

Best Practices in Implementation

Bush also highlighted several key elements regarding how the community rolled out the technology. That included creating a tech committee to test the technology, which was followed by a roll out to 250 residents. Bush described holding small sign-up sessions of about 20 residents, and in each class, residents learned how to use the system. She explained that she and a social worker set eight-week timelines with goals to guide them through the process. They also sent three resident surveys – one at the beginning, one at the middle, and one at the end of the implementation – to evaluate how well the technology was working and whether it was worth keeping.

Given the success of the initial implementation, Ohio Living plans on using the technology across all of its campuses.

Learn More

If you would like to learn more about the best practices, lessons learned, and advice shared in the webinar, a webinar recording and transcript are available online. The presentation slides are also available for download.

Topics: Featured Articles , Information Technology , Resident Care , Surveys , Technology & IT