Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) play an important role in the long-term care industry. Typically used to rehabilitate patients between hospital visits and residential nursing home care, SNFs have been transformed in recent years by the adoption of technology solutions. As with nursing home insurance, understanding technology and how it can benefit SNF operations are key factors in managing risks. In this guide, we will explore how technology can help to increase facility capacity and lay the groundwork for success well into the future.
Improving Quality of Care with Technology
The healthcare industry has been the beneficiary of numerous technologies over the past two decades. These technologies improve quality of care and reduce risks, supplementing the protections of nursing home insurance. Some of the technologies being adopted by the industry include:
- Electronic patient record systems
- Remote monitoring and security systems
- Telemedicine systems
- Medication/Prescription management systems
- Memory care systems
- Assistive devices for patient handling
Even technologies as simple as communication and entertainment systems or the availability of wireness networks can help seniors stay connected with their family members and with healthcare providers in other locations. More and more seniors are using mobile devices, “smart” televisions, and voice-activated digital assistants like Alexa or Siri. By catering to these changing preferences by adopting the technologies and digital infrastructure to support them, SNFs can help usher in a connected facility where residents feel more at home.
America’s population is aging, and it is estimated that as many as 70% of all older adults in the U.S. will need some form of long-term care, including in SNFs, nursing homes, and senior care facilities. As SNF owners look to modernize their operations, technology plays a critical role in preparing these facilities to handle the care needs of seniors.
Shopping for a Care Facility
Technology has been shown to improve patient safety by facilitating quality care delivery. It also represents a strong selling point for seniors and their families shopping for suitable residential care. If a nursing home or SNF has made critical investments in advanced technologies, these facilities may be preferred over competitors, helping to boost resident occupancy rates and to improve revenue. Seniors and their families are increasingly tech-savvy; technology in SNFs is no longer a luxury but an essential component that residents demand for better care and better safety.
Investments in Technology
SNFs and other long-term care facilities have long struggled with the costs associated with technology investments. Despite the need for such investments, budgets are tight, causing many facility operators to put off the adoption of patient-oriented technologies. One novel way of paying for these investments is through the civil money penalty (CMP) reinvestment program administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Under the program, money collected in the form of penalties against nursing homes may be available to help other facilities modernize their operations. Grants from this program could be used to purchase technology systems or any other activity or program designed to improve care delivery.
Industry watchdogs also note that the insurance industry should be an active participant in helping SNFs upgrade their care models with technology. Claims against nursing home insurance continue to rise, leading many insurers to pay millions of dollars each year. By lobbying for technology, insurance companies can help improve quality of care and facility safety, helping to manage the number and severity of claims against insurance policies. The facility, its residents, and the insurance company all benefit from supporting the adoption of technologies.
About Caitlin Morgan
Caitlin Morgan specializes in insuring assisted living facilities and nursing homes and can assist you in providing insurance and risk management services for this niche market. Give us a call to learn more about our programs at (877) 226-1027.