New Report Highlights Technology Spending Trends in Senior Living

In January, Ziegler released the findings of its December 2022 survey on technology spending among senior living organizations. Ziegler has conducted such surveys every two years since 2012, developing a decade-long look at technology spending trends in the senior care industry.

The survey results provide insight on which technology areas organizations are investing in the most and indicate how the senior care industry is using technology.

About the Ziegler Technology Spending Survey

Lisa McCracken, director of senior living research at Ziegler

Lisa McCracken, director of senior living research at Ziegler

Lisa McCracken, director of senior living research at Ziegler, explains that the survey is the result of a partnership with LeadingAge CAST. “[LeadingAge CAST] had an interest in learning more about where dollars were spent nationally among senior living providers, and as we tracked the technology trends, we too wanted to make this a focus,” she explains. “We realized early on that it was not only important to gather point-in-time data, but to know how the spending and adoption is changing over time. The end result is a survey every two years on this topic.”

The 2022 survey included responses from more than 150 organizations. “Ziegler has an ongoing polling mechanism via our Ziegler CFO HotlineSM,” explains McCracken. “We conduct surveys on various hot topics every seven to eight weeks, on average. The respondent poll includes the CFOs or VPs of finance for senior living organizations throughout the country.”

About 58% of respondents to the 2022 survey were single-site organizations, while 42% of respondents were multi-site organizations.

Key Findings from the 2022 Survey

The 2022 survey, compared to the 2020 survey, reveals that organizations are beginning to return to their pre-COVID technology spending priorities. The top five technology investment categories for 2022 were:

  • ICT infrastructure (wired/wireless high-speed internet connectivity)
  • Electronic medical/health record systems
  • Electronic point of care/point of service documentation systems
  • Workforce/staffing scheduling systems
  • Access control/wander management systems.

In comparison, the top priorities for the 2020 survey showed the influence of COVID-19, including video conferencing capabilities, resident/client access to the internet and social networking sites, and infection control systems.

“It was not terribly surprising to see some migration back to pre-pandemic levels in how dollars are being spent,” says McCracken. “We definitely saw a spike in certain spending at the height of the pandemic related to telehealth/telemedicine, resident engagement apps, and monitoring of visitors and staff in and out of buildings.

“Overall, I suppose we have the potential to be devoting a slightly larger portion of the budget to technology adoption, given how critical it was during the pandemic,” she adds. “We are not necessarily seeing that higher spending play out in the results. I do think some of that is also being influenced by the current inflationary environment that we are in. Expenses are up significantly, so it makes sense that providers are going to be prudent with their discretionary dollars.”

Other types of technology, including physical robots, technical support for residents, resident and client access to the internet and social networking, workforce and staffing scheduling systems, and automatic fall detectors, closely followed those top five investment priorities.

The results conclude with open-ended comments submitted by survey respondents. These comments reflect intriguing insights, including shifting technology investments to meet Boomer needs, targeting service subscriptions instead of hardware and devices, and investing in a dining robot to help address staffing challenges.

Both technology and the senior living industry are rapidly evolving. The Ziegler survey provides an interesting look at current spending and technology priorities. It will be interesting to see what the 2024 reveals about how priorities have continued to change.

Topics: Featured Articles , Infection control , Information Technology , Staffing , Technology & IT