AI for Assisted Living: Predictions and Advice for Future-Proofing Your AI Investments
Does it seem like everyone is talking about artificial intelligence (AI) for everything? While headlines proclaim impossibilities, it can seem AI solutions are far from reality – especially in assisted living where less than 50% of providers have adopted electronic health records (EHRs). But make no mistake: artificial intelligence will have real impact on the assisted living industry – and not so far in the future.
AI: Artificial Intelligence is the term used to describe technology that makes computers perform “smart” or human-like tasks.
In this article, John Shafaee, co-founder and CEO of Medtelligent predicts how AI will be applied in assisted living and offers suggestions for positioning your organization to utilize AI solutions as they mature.
Better Monitoring of Care Will Improve Operational Efficiency
One challenge facing assisted living operators is resident turnover, much of it driven by a change in plan of care. Assisted living software can create a more consistent view of residents’ health. Assisted living software with integrated machine learning pattern matching algorithms will provide a way to passively measure minor shifts that can cause a major increase in expenses. Managing health changes and identifying risk ahead of semi-annual assessments gives communities a chance to solve health problems proactively and deliver care more efficiently.
ML: Machine learning refers to the use of advanced math functions to create models with data which allow a computer to make predictions and recommendations.
Improving Resident Satisfaction Will Increase Top Line Growth
Improving health outcomes will increase the length of stay in assisted living communities. If a community of 65 residents can extend each resident’s stay by just one month, that can increase the community’s annual revenue 227,500.00 (assuming an average of $3,500 per resident per month). Quality of care will further improve as expert knowledge is codified and delivered just-in-time to support new staff as they provide hands-on care. Machine learning algorithms in assisted living software will design individualized plans of care, accounting for both expressed and implied preferences. Along the way, resident satisfaction – and revenue from referrals and retention – will increase.
Algorithm: An algorithm is a set of step-by-step instructions that describe how to perform a task.
Task Automation Will Reduce Assisted Living Employee Turnover
Importantly, AI can also be used to enhance quality of life for caregivers and staff. AI will soon be used to automate tedious data entry tasks with hands-free charting. Reminders will reduce the stress (and regulatory exposure) of missing a step in a complex care plan. And turnover will stabilize as staff satisfaction improves with machine learning-optimized staff scheduling and team communications.
Personalized Pricing Will Enhance Resident Satisfaction
Machine learning will also be used to develop more accurate and individualized cost models, providing better price justification and transparency during and after the sales process. Just as pay-as-you-go insurance plans adjust based on how many miles you drive, assisted living care will leave behind today’s tiered payment plans for more personalized pricing.
Setting the Right Foundation for AI in Assisted Living
In the case of AI for assisted living, don’t think that if it’s not imminent, it’s not important. Now is the time for senior living executives to lay the foundation for leveraging these powerful technologies.
The best investments for assisted living providers include:
- Data Infrastructure To leverage AI in an assisted living setting, you need the right data and a common way to collect and store it. Without clean, accessible data you won’t have the opportunity to take advantage of the new machine learning-driven features that are coming to assisted living software.
- Purpose Built Software You’ll get the most out of AI when your software vendor understands the meaning of your unique data. Machine learning algorithms are only as good as the domain for which they are built. For example, cars are not the same as trucks when it comes to automating braking systems. Similarly, software built with skilled nursing regulations and workflows in mind might make significantly different predictions and recommendations than one built for an assisted living setting. Invest in software that is purpose-built for your industry.
- Open Minded Partners Given the critical importance of data to AI and machine learning technologies, it’s important that you understand: how your vendors and partners will use your data, how it will be stored, and how you will maintain ownership of data collected in your communities. Pick your partners carefully to protect your investment in these mission-critical systems.
Investments that are less likely to retain their value over the long term include:
- Reporting Only Solutions Software that primarily provides reports and measures compliance activities may solve visibility issues for management, but it won’t automate the real work. Reports still require human intervention at the end of the day. Invest in systems that are in line with – and which have the potential to automate – your day-to-day workflows.
- Hardware Hardware evolves quickly but is more difficult to maintain and often more expensive to replace than cloud-based software. Invest in software over hardware where possible.
- All-in-One Solutions Cross-care continuum solutions that are not tailormade for the assisted living setting may not meet expectations in the long term. All-in-one solutions promise workflow integration but the power of AI in healthcare will be driven by data integration. The data brings the insight, and the data comes from being in the room, providing care, day after day after day.
Artificial intelligence will have a profound effect on every sector, including assisted living. Now is a great time to take stock and prepare your community to take full advantage of these technologies as they arrive. The reward for those assisted living operators who welcome change will be tangible differentiation against their competition and the top line growth to show for it.
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