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Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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Training value chain participants to incorporate technology into their work

In the previous blog post, I talked about process and systems (versus gadget) approaches to promoting technologies for aging in place -- the example used was 'alerting' technologies. Marketing any system, however, must overcome the twin barriers of lack of awareness and inexperience with:

Professional awareness first -- then training.  No one seeks training on technologies they haven't heard of. I recently spoke at an event in which participants (professionals in the senior care industry) received continuing education units for attending a session on 'Technologies for Aging in Place.' It was a good start - awareness of what technologies exist today. Ideally -- this one wasn't ideal -- the session should include a survey of familiarity, actual experiences and outcomes of a technology's use -- and breakout sessions with participants to describe concerns and offer solutions to each other. If you're in the senior care industry and see no sessions about this at conferences, ask why not?

Caregivers -- awareness first.  Family members often search the Internet in vain looking for guidance on tools and how to use them to provide effective care of family members and themselves. Vendors who want to boost awareness need to find their audience online, most likely through search optimization and boosting visibility on for-profit caregiver websites. Today, non-profit national websites like those for Alzheimer's or Parkinson's appear more focused on fundraising than on best practice processes and tools. But their community chapter meetings, regional events and national conferences are excellent venues for creating awareness among caregivers. At some point in the future, pharmacies with retail clinics like CVS or other retailers like Wal-Mart or Best Buy may fill this gap as well through health-related product demonstrations.

Best practice training videos should accompany all products.  Years ago, my mother needed a special process for wrapping her legs to prevent lymphedema from again turning into cellulitis (which had landed her in the hospital). The nursing home would not send a nurse out to be trained; the hospital trainer wouldn't come to the nursing home. So my husband filmed the trainer doing the complex wrapping process and gave the video to the nursing home. Problem solved. Today training videos of best practice should be viewable on any website that describes complex product features.

Frequently asked questions lists should accompany all products. Just as a video can communicate best practice, the FAQ, included with the product but also on the website, can answer the what-if questions about the product's use.  All alerting systems should have one -- this Lifeline FAQ, for example, could have quite a bit more detail than it contains. Just because technologies are installed in association with a service provider or dealer does not eliminate the need for online best practice videos, a detailed process overview and FAQ.

Train the trainer, aka the early adopter.  Every organization has a person on staff who is curious and can communicate what they learn to others. Find that person and you've conquered the technology deployment problem for that organization. A few years ago, representing a central Florida nursing home, the director of nursing saw a kiosk-based ADL tracking system at a training event. Today a CareTracker kiosk from Resource Systems is wall-mounted on every hall of the 150-bed facility, saving time, improving accuracy, monitoring staff.

Testimonials matter.  I received an e-mail this week in which a facility administrator was described as being very pleased with the QuietCare installation for her residents of a dementia facility. From the e-mail: "Apparently, she has installed sensors in rooms with more than one occupant and had no difficulty with monitoring ADLs.   Her comments : 'It's like another set of eyes. Why wouldn't you do this?" That's a great example of a testimonial -- short but to the point.

 

 

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