Innovation is a critical skill and practice for aging service providers – and may in fact mean the difference between being able to continue fulfilling their mission (i.e., staying in business) and being disrupted by a competitor, new entrant into the space or missed strategic opportunity. It is far better for providers to recognize their “blind spots” and disrupt themselves by innovating service models and ways of doing business. Technology plays a big part in not only transforming the service experience in traditional care models, but also in scaling new models to achieve sustainability.
As we look forward to the return of the “Pitch-for-Pilots (P4P)” in partnership with Aging2.0 at AgeTech’s “Sync in Seattle: Transforming the Aging Services Experience” Conference and Tech Expo on November 17th, I want to encourage senior living and aging service providers to take a moment to consider how your organization is ‘preparing to pilot (P2P)’ the integration of new technologies. Whether the opportunity to test new technology is generated at the conference or elsewhere, there are several important elements to keep in mind to ensure a valuable and “successful” experience for all parties – providers, residents/consumers, and tech companies – whether or not the pilot turns into a scaled deployment.
At Sync in Seattle, attendees will first hear from three providers who’ve had successful pilot experiences launched at the P4P last November in San Jose – Hallmark Rehab, Eskaton and Front Porch. Providers will discuss their piloting experience, share video interviews with participating residents/clients, and convey the perspective of their tech company partners. They will then give their experience-based recommendations for conducting a successful pilot.
Immediately following will be the live 2014 Pitch for Pilots, where technology companies give a 4-minute pitch in hopes of landing a compatible provider pilot partner from the audience. Attendees will vote in real-time on the quality and content of the pitch, and have the opportunity to submit applications to be a provider pilot partner. Vetting and pairings will be made following the conference. AgeTech and Aging2.0 will provide pilot partners with tools such as sample MOUs and participant consents.
In preparation for technology deployment opportunities, get a team together to clearly articulate the challenges or opportunities you are interested in enabling with technology, make sure you have “buy in” from leadership and have a staff champion to lead the project, and agree on process for regular planning and communication among staff, residents/participants and your technology partner. Make sure too that you have the applicable infrastructure requirements in place (e.g., campus WiFi) to deploy the technology.
These and other topics are addressed in Aging2.0 co-founder Stephen Johnston’s article “Top Ten Tips for Successful Partnerships,” recently published in CALA’s quarterly publication, the CALA News & Views, and in an article by Lola Rain, Eskaton’s Director of Social Media entitled, “Innovation lab: Evaluating a pilot project in long-term care,” recently published in McKnight’s Long-term Care.
Remember, pilots are just the way to start, not the end objective, but getting started down the tracks of technology integration is paramount to increasing your “Innovation Quotient (IQ)” and taking advantage of today’s technological advances to enable your best possible care and services.
Scott Peifer, Executive Director, AgeTech West