In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, technology in senior living and assisted living facilities are spending much more on technology than ever before. Several reports show a rise in technology spending among senior living healthcare providers, focusing on socially distanced services, such as telehealth.
According to recent surveys, 80 percent of respondents reported an increase in tech spending in 2020 to address the coronavirus. Looking ahead, most said they expect their organization to add more to their fiscal budgets in 2021 to make room for technology spending for such things as virtual tours and telemedicine.
Technology in Senior Living
Now that operating post-COVID-19 has become the new normal, highlighting the need for social distancing, masks, and stricter hygiene rules to keep senior residents safe, a new emphasis on technology services is in the spotlight. Family members of residents are placing much more value on connectivity in senior living facilities, staying in touch while staying apart.
To do this, clients in the industry are pouring money into better Internet connectivity, tech tools, such as tablets and computers, and telemedicine for residents to connect with doctors and specialists. Changes in federal policy and specific allowances or flexibilities from regulators have made it more accessible and easier to implement and pay for telehealth in the age of COVID.
The main benefit of telehealth, especially among coronavirus threats, is straightforward as these systems give senior living residents a way to access medical care without leaving their communities. Telehealth connects residents with their providers and provides diagnostics and information on their biometric monitoring and virtual visits.
In April, following the initial outbreak of the virus, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services applied new flexibilities concerning telehealth reimbursement for senior living facilities. The organization also increased the number of telehealth services that could be reimbursed by Medicare, including nursing facility visits, emergency room visits, and therapy services.
While technology is making life simpler for patients, their families, and their providers, it is also posing significant risks in infrastructure security and data collection. The threat of a Senior living Cyber risk is increasingly becoming a challenge for providers and insurance companies alike. While it’s clear senior living providers are spending more on tech to make things easier and more accessible during the ongoing pandemic, Wi-Fi and building infrastructure are in harm’s way, being vulnerable to hackers.
As technology in senior living facilities advances and more money is poured into tech, the protection of this tech and the data connected to it is imperative. Electronic storage of residents’ medical records and the virtual delivery of care have made it more crucial than ever for management to protect sensitive data and Wi-Fi connections. The challenge is that many nursing homes and other senior facilities may not have a response plan in place to protect against cyberattacks.
Exposure to cyberattacks can impact every area of the healthcare sector. Long term care providers are particularly vulnerable given the nature of onsite adult living and how information is managed and delivered.
Moving forward, these facilities must decide how they will supplement their tech spending with data protection and overall cybersecurity efforts to keep resident data safe.
About Highland Risk
At Highland Risk, we use our expertise and experience to provide insurance information and programs to those who serve long-term care and senior living facilities. Since 2007, we’ve been offering insurance and risk management plans designed to help our agents give their clients the ability to achieve continued growth while simultaneously protecting against loss, containing costs and increasing profitability. With three offices to serve you in Chicago, Illinois; Phoenix, Arizona; and Burlington, Connecticut, we do everything we can to make your experience with us as professional and transparent as possible. To learn more, contact us at (877) 890-9301.