Strategies for Implementing AI Staffing Solutions in Your Senior Care Facility
Previously, we examined how staffing shortages are impacting the recruitment and staffing processes for senior care communities. We also reviewed the many ways that artificial intelligence (AI) can be used in recruitment, onboarding, and staff management, and the benefits that it offers each of these areas.
Here, we focus on the implementation of AI, including how senior care facilities should approach an AI investment to ensure its effectiveness.
Common Fears and Hesitations Surrounding AI
It’s evident that AI can offer many benefits to senior care facilities, from streamlining the hiring process to helping create schedules that match employees’ needs and may promote employee retention. But fears and hesitations around technology, and AI in particular, are also common.
Jason Leverant, certified healthcare staffing professional and president and chief operating officer of AtWork Group, explains that while hesitations regarding AI use are common across most industries, there are greater risks of AI and AI-related tools in healthcare, since these tools deal directly with patient health and wellbeing. “Yes, there is always a case to be made for issues relating to bias or unintended consequences when dealing with AI tools, but that shouldn’t make us shy away from striving to use these tools for automation purposes and for driving efficiencies with standardized/routine processes,” he says.
Steve Saville, president at SkillGigs, Inc., says it’s easy to chalk up hesitations surrounding the use of AI as being the fear of the unknown or concerns about job displacement. “What I have found in most cases, especially in healthcare, is there is an extreme resistance to change,” he explains. “Some may resist using AI simply because they are accustomed to traditional methods. However, by demonstrating the benefits of AI and providing training and support, senior care facilities can help staff members adapt to new technologies and embrace new ways of working.
“I also believe that some leaders hesitate evaluating tools that include AI because it requires examining the costs to implement, new privacy and security concerns, and reliability,” he adds. “Healthcare demands built-in security and systems that provide accurate and reliable information.”
How to Start Using Staffing Solutions That Include AI
Saville encourages senior care facilities to look for several qualities to ensure a staffing solution product is a good fit for their needs. Start by understanding what sets the product apart from its competition, such as proprietary software or a proven success record of its use. “The use of AI within new technologies is slowly becoming table stakes and it’s important to know if the solution is genuine about solving real business issues,” he says. “In my opinion, this is a critical question as you begin your evaluation process.”
Additionally, consider whether the solution is user-friendly for your staff. Does it have elements or opportunities for customization, and can you properly review its accuracy and reliability, including security and privacy?
Leverant notes that one of the best ways to make decisions regarding using AI or any software is to consider the ROI after the tool has been implemented. Consider the outcome you are attempting to achieve, and whether the tool will give you the intended results you wanted. “When you’re able to specifically identify what you’re trying to improve, it cuts down on the ‘clutter’ of multiple software solutions available and on the market today,” he says.
When implementing AI, Saville recommends that senior care facilities start small. “It’s often best to start with a pilot program or a small-scale implementation to test the effectiveness of an AI solution before committing significant resources,” he says. “During this pilot, make sure to identify clear goals and objectives. This will help ensure that the solution is aligned with the facility’s needs and can be evaluated effectively.”
It’s also important to involve critical staff early on in the pilot. “This not only makes them feel included in the decision-making process, but you can also learn and train along the way to ensure an effective launch,” says Saville.
Lastly, senior care facilities should monitor the results of an AI solution. “Once an AI staffing solution has been implemented, it’s important to monitor its effectiveness,” Saville explains. “This will help identify areas for improvement and ensure that goals are being met.”
The Future of AI in Senior Care Staffing
With AI already playing a major role in key aspects of senior care, what does the future hold? Saville believes that AI will play an increasingly important role in senior care and healthcare. “I believe that AI is likely to play a significant role in caregiving, patient monitoring, decision-making, and ultimately staffing,” he says. “AI-powered virtual assistants can provide senior patients companionship and support those in isolation. These same tools can provide key task reminders like medication and appointment timings. The role of AI in sensors and wearable technologies is already on the rise providing the ability to monitor seniors’ vitals, activity levels, and other critical health indicators 24/7.”
“AI will continue to aid in caregivers’ ability to make more informed decisions about patient care by analyzing large amounts of data and providing personalized recommendations,” he adds. “And the reality is, none of the roles, tools, or advancements can happen without the right staffing leading the change. AI tools can help optimize staffing and credentialing decisions by analyzing data on resident needs, staff availability, and other factors.”
Leverant agrees that AI will play a large role in the senior care industry. “I think AI is going to be key for senior care organizations to remain competitive,” he says. “While I don’t think it’s going to take jobs away, I believe it will take competition away. I believe that if you aren’t planning on embracing AI in your business in the near-term, you will fall by the wayside from a competitive perspective. With high levels of interest, and such a large-scale embrace of this technology, there’s no doubt that we are going to see a massive increase in AI utilization in the senior care industry, along with probably every other aspect of our lives.”
Topics: Facility management , Featured Articles , General Technology , Operations , Staffing , Training