Raising Tech is your guide to understanding the role technology plays in your community, where to invest to transform culture, and how to bring your team and residents along the journey. Tune in for tech trends, hot topics and meet the people behind the tech landscape in senior living to gain practical technology knowledge you can apply in your community today.
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Welcome back to Raising Tech , a podcast about all things technology and senior living. Today, I'm your host, Patrick Leonard, and we're gonna mix it up a little bit today. I'm actually gonna have a chat with our primary host who you're very familiar with , Amber Bardon. Hi Amber.Amber:
Hey Patrick. How's it going?Patrick:
It's going great.Amber:
It's almost the end of the year. Christmas is around the corner. I can't believe it.Patrick:
I know it's been a heck of a 2022 . A lot of highlights, a lot of things that we're looking forward to 2023, but I think hopefully everybody can take a little time over the next few weeks and relax and recharge for 2023. As we head into the holiday season. You know, it's typically a good time for everybody to take a step back and reflect on the year and prepare for the upcoming year. So that kind of leads us to today's focus for our conversation, we, we want to take a step back and do something a little different and focus on workplace culture and employee engagement. Obviously that's always a hot button, but it's really been, a light has been shown on it over the past couple years and as of late, and so wanted to really focus on that topic today. And so Amber's a great person to talk on this topic as she founded Parasol around seven years ago. And so Amber wanted to really just have a conversation about how you kind of started the company with culture in mind. And then we'll dive in throughout the conversation, I'd love to learn more about how that's evolved over time and dive into some of the more specifics.Amber:
Yeah, I would love to get into that. Before I do that, I just wanna comment that staffing is such a hot topic for everybody right now, especially for our clients, and no company is immune to that. So it's the , it's a challenge we've had at our own company and we've come up with some pretty unique , um, processes and culture engagement. And that was the reason we wanted to do this podcast is to share any best practices, any tips, any ideas that might be able to help our clients. So Patrick, as you know, I started the company about seven years ago and at that time my kids were pretty young. They were one and three. And it was really important to me to start a company that would give me the flexibility and support that I needed as a working mother, specifically around not having to make a decision on sending my kid to daycare with a fever or, or having to call in sick to work. I also had some challenges before I started the company with interviewing for other businesses. And one company said they'd never interviewed a woman, woman before. I had a lot of people questioning , um, what I meant when I was asking if I would have flexibility to work from home. And so right from the start, I really had in mind that I wanted to create a culture and an environment that I wanted to work at out , but I should offer and extend the that same culture and that same environment to every single employee. So from that perspective, our company has always been virtual from day one. So we're currently at about 50 employees with anticipated , um, growth of about 70 to a hundred in the next couple of years. And we plan to always , uh, continue as a virtual company. It is a nice mixed environment because our staff also go onsite to support the clients. And so a lot of our support staff really enjoy that hybrid environment when they get to be part of the client team and the client environment. But when they're not onsite, they get to work from home. And of course we also have several, a hundred percent , uh, remote work clients, which has been a great recruitment tool for us.Patrick:
That's awesome. Thanks for recapping that background. And I think you were really ahead of the game. Like a lot of the things you mentioned in some form or fashion are a little bit more commonplace today just out of necessity over the last few years. But I think it's really cool to learn about seven years ago people like you were already thinking about this thing and anticipating the needs of the employee more holistically than was kind of commonplace back then. And I know, you know, I started with Parasol about a year ago, but I'm, I've known you in the parasol team for about five years now through my previous job. And during that time, I remember one thing in conversations that stuck out with me were was that you had this vision to change how we think about workplace culture. And so that really shines through and what you just talked about and really excited to dive a little bit deeper here.Amber:
Yeah, and, and that is exactly what my vision was. I feel like a lot of companies that offer a remote work from home or have a hybrid model, they don't set up a specific culture, a specific set of policies or procedures and how to work remotely and how to stay engaged. And I think that's the biggest obstacle or the biggest challenge that companies that try remote work and it fails run into. And so right from the beginning we built a lot of very structured policies, procedures, processes, how-to guides and how we engage with each other, how do we talk to each other, how do we communicate? And I think as, as you know Patrick, and as some of our listeners probably know , um, as of today we've been awarded 18 Best and Brightest Workplace Awards, which I think we started applying for about six years ago. And so one of the things that we hear really consistently , um, through that award process and also in our listening sessions, which I'll talk about later, is our strongest value and our strongest , um, component of working here is the teamwork piece, which you would think would be what surprising in our remote workforce. But I'm gonna talk today a little bit about how have we built up that really strong sense of connectedness and teamwork amongst our staff.Patrick:
Definitely. That's awesome. Yeah. Because it is hard, whether you're remote or not, building that connection between employees and really having a true culture that's healthy is difficult and can be challenging with everything going on. And so the processes and procedures, I want to go back to that. Can we, that's so important and foundational obviously for everything we do as a business or company or employees and within our departments, but can you talk a little bit more, how does that process start at Parasol as far as some of the specifics from starting with the pre-hire phase, for example?Amber:
Yeah, Patrick, I'd really love to walk the listeners through how we have structured our culture. And I do wanna say that this is a constantly evolving thing. We thought we were doing a pretty good job with employee engagement and then the great resignation hit us hard just like it did every other company in 2021. And , since that time, about a year ago, we've actually made a lot of additional changes, a lot of additional programs. So, you know, the things I'm gonna talk about didn't happen overnight. And one of the things that's really great about Parasol, we're able to be very flexible and agile and how we engage with our staff members. So as far as where everything starts, we made a lot of changes and improvements to our pre-hire process. And there's really two key things that we do pre-hire. So one of the things that we do that's probably pretty common is we do have a technical lab that we have all of our technical staff walk through , and that's been a really great tool for us to help assess the technical skillset . And the other piece that technical lab is it allows us to see people's thought process and how do they troubleshoot and analyze issues. Then another part of that is we assess their customer service skills as we do , uh, a scenario where they're on the phone with a , an end user and how are they reacting in the moment as well as what kind of language are they using. The second tool that for me personally has been life-changing is called Predictive Index. So everybody who knows me knows that I'm obsessed with two things and start with p . One of those is podcasts, which I get made fun of for talking about all the time. And the other one is Predictive index. So , um, we came to Predictive Index about two or three years ago. Our leadership team decided we wanted to implement a behavioral assessment to really be able to take our teamwork and our connection and understanding of each other as coworkers to the next level. So we had trialed a few of them, so we looked at Myers-Briggs, we looked at StrengthsFinder and we looked at Predictive Index. And the reason we selected Predictive Index was really two purposes. So , uh, one of the challenges we were having with hiring is we would hire staff with the right technical skillset , but they didn't fit into our culture that well. The pace was too fast. Um, they had to, you know, our staff have to learn , um, very quickly and assess information at at a pretty fast pace , uh, considering that we support so many different technical environments and we would hire people that were failing at that. So they weren't able to learn quickly or keep up with the pace. And so the Predictive Index tool is the only assessment that's approved for use pre-hire. So we use that tool as a way to build a profile of the ideal candidate and then we are , and then the candidates take a assessment which then tells us where they fall in that profile spectrum. So that's been a really great predictor for us in being able to determine who will be successful in the type of culture and environment that we have. And then the other thing we use Predictive Index for is a way for us to understand and interact with each other. So Predictive Index has a Slack integration, so we're able to do slash pi , um, at user and pull up someone's predictive index profile right in front of us. It will tell us their communication style, their leadership style, or the detail oriented, et cetera . So those are the two things that we implemented pre-hire that have really had a huge impact on our ability to bring in quality candidates.Patrick:
Now, I too am a big fan of those behavioral assessments before I came here and I've done the Myers Briggs and I like the Clifton strengths. They all kind of their , they're pros and cons I guess, but predictive Index has really been cool. And in particular, we just had a leadership meeting, you know, a week or two ago and it was a fun exercise just to kind of bring back and, and, and do read backs on each of the different profiles of our leadership team so we can better understand each other and remind each other of people's communication styles and how they like to work to manage to be managed. And, and so I think it's a good ongoing tool as well after the hiring process to better work with each other. And so , um, that's something I've found personally really valuable. That's paints a great picture of some of some things for the pre-hire process. Can you talk a little bit about once we get the perfect candidate, if you will, in the door, those first 30 60 days are really crucial in my opinion, in in engaging those folks and welcoming them to the company in the appropriate manner that they feel set up for success for what's to come. Can we, can you talk a little bit about how we've implemented some things that Parasol Alliance and how that's going?Amber:
Yeah, absolutely. And I completely agree with you. That is definitely a really critical time period on both sides. We wanna make sure that we're giving the employee the tools they need to be successful. But on the other end of that, we wanna make sure we're setting the expectations of where we wanna see , uh, new employees progressing and what specific targets and metrics are that we want them to hit within a 30, 60, 90, 80 time period. So it all starts , with their onboarding process in which they take a randomized survey of questions and then from that survey, our talent and recruitment manager sends them a personalized gift. So they get a gift card to our restaurant that's the favorite restaurant of ours to um, say welcome to the team lunches on us. And then they also get a personalized gift that's based on how they answer the survey questions. So if they're really into tech, they'd get some kind of tech gift. Let's say they like to fish, they might get a Bass Pro gift card and things like that. So we really wanna start from the beginning with that engagement, even though we probably have not met in person, but it's a way to really send out a personalized welcome to the employee. Something else that we do that we started about two years ago is a new employee mentorship program. So this came out of the need that we identify that new staff have questions for their manager about policy, process, procedure, things like that, but they really appreciate having someone to talk to who's not their manager, just to reach out with quick questions or to understand a day-to-day workflow or just to have that other resource available to them. So we , pair each new employee with a mentor and then we also do this for a promotion. So if someone moves into a new role, they get a , a new , employee mentor as well. And that's been a really great program that we've had a lot of really positive feedback just to have those additional resources available to new staff. The other thing that we do is we have , standardized assessments with metrics for 30 and 60 days . So one of the first things that the new employee is , told about is to log into our performance management system where they can see their 30 day assessment and what metrics we expect them to achieve and work on in those first 30 days. And then same thing with the 60 days. So it's great to have those two check-in periods built into the higher process. Another thing we did in the last year or so is we really stepped up and standardized our onboarding process so that everybody receives the same exact schedule for onboarding, a set of training, set of information, and that we're able to really make sure that that experience is the same across the board. And then lastly, something that we developed back when the company was started is called the culture file. So this is essentially a pretty big document. Some, some people say it's too big that it lists really everything you need to know about working here. So it has , um, internal policies, HR policies, and then client facing policies. And it's pretty comprehensive so that we do have pretty much every process policy procedure is documented or written down somewhere in that handbook. Um, and then new employees are given sort of a condensed small version of things they really need to know upfront that we call the new employee handbook.Patrick:
That paints a good picture for the pre onboarding kind of initial onboarding, 30, 60 days if you will, process for new employees. Then once someone kind of gets acclimated with a company and vice versa, it's easy to get lost in the day-to-day, right? We have our metrics in front of us, we have our day-to-day meetings, we have everything we need to do to get the job done and, and service our clients and work together. So in easy be easy to get distracted and, and kind of lose sight of ongoing engagement with employees. So how, how have you kind of thought about that and how does that tie into what we've done here at Parasol ongoing basis for employees to make sure we're constantly providing that support and development?Amber:
Yeah, that's definitely really key is you don't wanna lose that engagement or that momentum that you get from those first initial onboarding , welcoming initiatives that we have. So I would say the way that we're able to be successful with continuous engagement really relies on two things. So one is the technology and the tools that we're using, and then the other would be our processes around how we use those tools. Out of the tools that we have. The two most important are Slack and Zoom. So again, always being, you know, having been a remote company from the beginning, those are two tools . Well we didn't always have Zoom, we didn't always have Slack. We tried a couple of other different systems and uh, these are the two we ended up settling on. That worked really well. But the usage of those two tools is so essential to our business. I don't honestly know how we could be the company that we are today without those. So the way some of the ways that we use Zoom is we do have , daily calls with the entire company and that's something we've done since the beginning. Once we get bigger, you know, 70, 80, a hundred people, I'm not exactly sure how that company call is gonna look. But for now it , the value there is just the ability to see each other once a day just to have a quick touch base. We always change up the topic, so every year or two we change what that , agenda item is for that daily call. But really the content is really not that relevant. It's really about that chance to see each other joke around a little bit. On Fridays we do a wild card question, so somebody asks a question and we get to learn a little bit more about each other. So definitely having Zoom and that ability to touch base even to jump on a quick meeting and see someone face to face has been really key. The other tool that we rely on really heavily is Slack. And I know that , um, there's some employees, I think you are , you're one of them, Patrick, who used Slack before and then you came here and you, you know, you said you , you're using Slack in a totally different way than you were using at your last company. And we're really intentional about how we use Slack slacks. We have a Slack policy, we have , um, rules around that. So for example, staff are not supposed to be using Slack after hours. We don't wanna have a company culture where people feel like they have to be online 24/7. So we have an after hours contact us , uh, list and a way to reach out to somebody, but people are not expected to be using Slack after hours, but they're expected to be using it during the day. Another thing that we use with Slack that works really well is we started doing a lot of different types of engagement surveys and these are all fully integrated with Slack, so that right from your computer, when you're in there doing the rest of your work, you're getting these surveys pop up . So we do weekly pulse surveys, which is on work satisfaction , um, and our leadership team reviews those metrics every single week to see , um, where's the company satisfaction level on a training basis. We also do happiness surveys, which we can call emoji surveys or pulse surveys, so those are monthly. And then we also do quarterly engagement surveys. So we use Poly , which is fully integrated pops up , gives us those metrics and that sort of ongoing analysis of what the mood is in the company. We also have require our management team to meet with their staff one-on-one at least biweekly, and then to do team meetings every week or biweekly. We also have a monthly all staff meeting, which in a lot of information about the company is shared. So we, we share all of our metrics that we track for each team. We let , um, the company know where the company stands on multiple strategic initiatives and other types of metrics and news. And that's been a really great way just to let people know what's happening so that they feel engaged and they feel up to date and connected to what's going on in the company. From a bigger perspective,Patrick:
Culture is always a topic you talk people about. You can always get good ideas by talking with different companies, but something I've learned, and it's very evident here, is there's no one magic bullet if you will. There's the , it's all about the little touches in the different formats of which we engage with the employees. So the daily calls, for example, the, the pulse surveys, the monthly meetings, all little different but all interconnected in a way to keep people engaged and to keep things transparent at the company, which I think is a big thing that a lot of companies miss and that employees truly appreciate is just having the metrics, the goals and our progress fully laid out in front of everybody in plain sight . And answering questions transparently, I think goes a long way to kind of build trust and and buy in across the company. So I think that's great.Amber:
And there's a couple other initiatives that we started doing after the great resignation. So we wanted to make sure that we had a way for our executive team members to speak directly to staff on an ongoing basis. As we get to be bigger and bigger, we don't want to have leadership become disconnected from the rest of the staff and that's really important to me personally. So some of the ways in which we do that , um, we have a new employee social, so that's every quarter in which the new employees and the executive team jump on a Zoom and we have some games and we do some fun stuff. Um, we also , uh, started doing listening sessions, so those are twice a year and those are essentially kind of like mini town hall meetings. So the executive team is on each of those with a small group of employees, maybe four to five in which we share updates and news on what's happening. And then we also give employees a chance to give us really direct, honest feedback and I feel really fortunate that the feedback we have gotten has been really honest and thoughtful. Um, you know, people aren't just saying, oh it's, you know, things are fine, but they're bringing up really specific things that we can work on and we can take , um, that information that we hear on those sessions and then compile them into action items that we can report on that we're actually working towards resolving. And then I'm sure you're probably wondering, do we get together in person ever as a remote company? So currently we two , we have two in-person events a year. We are hoping to move that to you in know one big annual event in the ne in the coming years where we're able to bring in all of our employees around the country and for a weekend , um, or a few days just to get together in person . Um , but so far for the in-person events we have um, a staff one in the spring and then we have an all company one where people can bring , um, family members and things like that in the, in the fall.Patrick:
Can you talk a little bit more about holistically what we're doing annually , um, on a regular basis to ensure that we are taking the proper steps to listen to employees feedback and also to take proactive measures around retaining people who, who want to be here and we have a mutual fit and want a long term kind of engagement and partnership with?Amber:
Yeah, absolutely. We realize that growth, career growth is really important to our staff, especially those staff that come in at the service desk level. They are really looking to work for a company where they can grow their skillset , they don't wanna work at the support team , um, typically as a career. So a couple of things that we do with that is we developed Parasol Academy and this is essentially an internal training, learning and mentorship environment for our staff. So they're able to be paired with a professional mentor, which is different than the new employee mentor. Um, there's a whole , uh, application that they fill out saying which team they're interested in working with. If they're not sure we can do a discovery session with them and sit down and talk about their interests. We've also created a career path chart, which shows the direction in which different , um, paths can be taken to move into more of a technical area or a management role or maybe a client services area. So as part of that we also provide paid training for classes, courses, certifications and things like that. Another thing that we rolled out , um, actually this year at the time of annual anniversaries is we started doing stay interviews, which I got this concept from one of our board members, Ken Arnesan. And this is where we have a sit down , um, with HR and the manager of the employee and we talk through, you know, their, what, what will it take to have them stay, what does that look like and what are their needs and concerns? And then that also creates an action plan and which is addressed , um, by that person's manager in hr , uh, based on what comes up in those interviews. We also started doing an anniversary gift for employees , um, which is a , a nice little touch and this is , um, not something necessarily that has to do with the employee interv anniversaries, but each year we also do a big company launch of what's the theme for the year, what's coming up for the year, what are our strategic initiatives so that we can get staff excited each year for the direction that the company's going.Patrick:
One of the things that I think about a lot and companies talk about a lot or put on their website a lot is values. And it can kind of be, you know, one of those things that's often thought about by people that's, yeah, it's important, we're all kind of aware of it, but it can often be an afterthought or thought of something that companies don't necessarily focus on or live out an ongoing basis. That's one thing that I was kind of drawn to when I joined Parasol and you know, we did , we went through a values relaunch while I was here as part of a leadership team and it was a really valuable and kind of eye-opening process. So can you talk a little bit about what values kind of mean to you, how you wanna incorporate without Parasol and kind of how that's evolved from when you started it to as recent as the relaunch we just did.Amber:
One of the things that was really important to me when starting the company as that mission vision values were not just buzzwords that they were , um, encompassing what is the actual heart and purpose of the company and how do we live that mission, vision, values every day . And that's something we're constantly reassessing, constantly trying to make that connection , uh, make sure that our staff no one understand what those are and the way that we currently do that. So we have our values as part of our quarterly reviews. So we do reviews every quarter, which encompass , um, how well you've lived our , our values as well as examples every quarter. Uh, it also gives everybody a set of key metrics that they need to hit , so that they know what the expectations are around that. And uh, one of the things that we're gonna be launching next year is , values month. So we're gonna have , each value , uh, be a theme every month in which we can talk about what does this value mean? What are some examples, how did I , um, live this value for the month? What are , what are even ways that I can improve on this value just so that people can really make that connection between what is this value and how does that affect how I think about my job and how I act in my job on a day-to-day basis.Patrick:
Awesome, thanks for talking about that. Cause I think it is really unique the way that we incorporate values in your reviews. It's not just in more , more of what you think about traditional performance reviews, which can be a little sometimes subjective and not super helpful or productive, but the way we're able to com combine these clear, transparent metrics that are also tied to the values of the company and how you're living it out, I think is a really cool way to motivate people and keep people engaged. So you mentioned a little bit at the beginning the 18 best and brightest workplace awards that Parasol has been honored to receive over the years. On that note, tell me a little bit more about just the overall results that we've seen as a company from some of these things that you just mentioned and implemented over time.Amber:
The awards are a great accomplishment, which were really, really humbled and honored to be recipient of those. And just , uh, to explain a little bit more when we say there's 18 awards, so , Best and Brightest Workplace Award is a standard that is in , multiple cities and then there's also a national award. So we've been a recipient in Chicago, Milwaukee nationally, and then also they have a wellness award , um, that we have received multiple years in a row. So that's how we add up to that 18. Also this year we were ranked the number four MSP in the World by channel features 501 list, which happened because the requirements in which they do the analysis of the companies changed where they started to favor companies with long-term reoccurring revenue versus short-term consulting. And this ties back to our culture and our staffing model because our, our services are our people and it's really, really important and critical that our people are working in a place where they're happy, where they feel respected, where they feel supported, and that relat shows in these long-term relationships that we have with our clients. So that's something else that we're really proud of and there is, you know, such an obvious correlation and link between the workplace culture and then the services and the client relationships. We've also really improved , um, retention and it's really interesting because when we first started rolling out Parasol Academy and the mentorship program, we didn't have , um, as much participation as we would like, but once people in those programs started moving up in the company and getting promoted, we saw people , um, or other staff seeing that the , hey, this actually works and if I go through this process, I'm gonna be considered for the next promotion. And so we've really seen a lot more engagement and interest and you know, we've been able to to show staff that hey, this really does work. And as our company continues to grow and expand, there's gonna be more and more opportunities for , um, movement and growth in the company.Patrick:
You've come such a long way to evolved in so many ways our last seven years, Parasol's culture have kind of prepared the team for growth going from one or two employees to over 50 now and soon to be up to 70 and beyond. Besides that growth, talk a little bit about what's next, what's next on the horizon kind of from a employee engagement and culture standpoint that you see as the company does grow to that next level. ThisAmber:
Is something we've been talking a lot about , but I'm really excited that we're gonna be trying next year. So one of the things we've really struggled with is how do we connect outside of the workplace? So we have a lot of great tools and processes as I've talked about here to use during the workday, but how do we really reach employees outside of that? So it's been a little bit difficult for us as a remote company to even do the in-person events. We've tried doing things like virtual game nights, but a lot of people don't really wanna log back into their computer at the end of the day, employee recognition has also been a little bit difficult because we can't do , um, some of the things that traditional companies can do in person , you know, with employee of the month or, you know, recognition for something , um, that they might have done in person or that you could observe or watch. So the way we've decided to approach this is that we are a virtual company, we are different, so let's think about this in a different way. So we're going to be launching really a new edition around wellness is what we're gonna tie it back to. But we're going to create a , an using an app, a virtual environment that will have like a , a news feed that staff can post about what they're doing, snap a quick picture of their dog, you know, talk about something fun they did with their kids over the weekend, a hike they went on, but we're gonna tile that back to wellness. So they'll be able to earn points, they'll be able to get rewards, they'll be able to do challenges by doing various things through the app. So eating healthy , taking a hike , doing a personal meditation or reading a development book or something like that. Um, taking a mental health day off every recorder is something that we encourage. So we're really , um, excited to launch that and sort of see how can we connect virtually at more of a personal level just to have that ongoing engagement and connection.Patrick:
I think we've covered a lot and I think what I liked about this conversation is that, you know, we talked pretty high level , big picture, but also some very specific takeaways that I think, you know, listeners can go and implement or brainstorm on today and see how that relates to their company, whether they be virtual in-person or hybrid. I think there's key takeaways that are applicable to all of our listeners. So I think this discussion was great.Amber:
Yeah, it's been fun, Patrick, I'm glad we got to sit down and talk about this.Patrick:
Yeah. Any final thoughts or words of wisdom before we wrap up?Amber:
My advice would be to don't be afraid to try something different or something new. And if it doesn't work, you can always abandon it. Sometimes you have to think outside the box to come up with a solution that's specific to your team or to your company. But I think that you'll find that employees will be open to that and they'll be interested and they'll give you feedback about how those programs work.Patrick:
Well, thanks again, Amber and listeners, thanks for tuning in for another episode of Raising Tech. Hopefully you found some nuggets in there that are beneficial that you can apply to your workplace. If you have any topics or ideas you wanna hear about or wanna be on the show yourself, please visit our website at parasolalliance.com and reach out.Amber:
See you next year .
In this episode of Raising Tech, our two hosts, Patrick Leonard and Amber Bardon, have a candid conversation around the key components of a premier workplace culture.
Learn more about Parasol Alliance's journey with culture and employee engagement that has led them to be awarded 18 premier workplace awards over the last six years. You'll leave this episode with ideas and action items you can bring to your organization today.
Raising Tech is powered by Parasol Alliance, The Strategic Planning & Full-Service IT Partner exclusively serving Senior Living Communities.
Welcome back to Raising Tech. This is your host, Amber Bardon, and today we're talking about a topic that I'm actually really excited about. I've been really looking forward to this interview and this conversation. On today's episode, we have Tiffany Naticchoni , hopefully I said your last name correctly. And she is a Regional Director of Sales for CarePredict. Welcome to the show, Tiffany.Tiffany:
Hi, Amber. Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to talk about the CarePredict technology and all the ways for innovating the senior living space.Amber:
I wanna tell the story really briefly about how I first heard about CarePredict, because I was actually not aware of your product. And I've done ,, several conferences at , local leadingage states over the year about innovation and technology, resident technology , technology, strategic planning, that type of thing. And one of the things that I talk about is new technology design and new construction. And I actually had an attendee at one of the conferences bring up CarePredict because we were talking about innovation and emergency call responses and how there hasn't been a lot of change in that industry. And somebody brought up your company and I think from there we connected with you. And I'm just really interested to hear about what you're offering and what you're doing in this space. So can you tell us about what CarePredict is?Tiffany:
Yeah, absolutely. So , so we are an AI technology platform. very technical, lots of features. but what we've done is we've , we've been built out to empower caregivers to provide better care for our seniors. we're on a mission to , drive a purpose built company built for , built from our , CEO and founder Satishmo's very personal need to take care of his aging parents. and he was also the successful founder of , a couple of other healthcare technology software platforms in the past. So he built us out. so all of the technicals involved, like you had already mentioned , um, call system, fall detection is another. Um, all of these point solutions that our senior living communities are shopping for and looking to upgrade and update and , they're looking for solutions that are meeting the needs of the current and, modern operation. Right? And we're facing staffing shortages. We're facing occupancy issues. quite frankly, our staff just need an easier experience at work, right? So we've built our, our platform out to be easier for the end user experience for our caregivers. And we started basically focused on health insights in the congregate living setting. And then we evolved significantly to detecting falls through all of this. We're reducing falls, unplanned hospitalizations , um, increasing the length of stay and of course improving the staff response times . So we do all of this through a wearable device called a Tempo that's worn on the dominant wrist, and it's going to , um, have some gesture recognition. Um, so it's going to detect like activities of daily living , um, walking , um, brushing teeth, brushing hair, eating, all of those different activities and behaviors. Um, and also it has , real time location information in it, which allows , the AI platform to, to provide data to the operators, the caregivers on, you know, what activities are our residents and staff engaged in every day , and what type of utilization are our , um, residents and, and caregivers experiencing each day. so are wearable unobtrusively, and in the background collects data on activity behavior.Amber:
That's a lot of information. Let's , let's unpack and dive into that a little bit more. So I wanted to mention, you know, before we get into what some of these different offerings are that you just mentioned, I wanted to bring up sort of a , a case in point about what you just described. I was working with a client on , uh, new construction technology design, and we were specifically researching and looking for a solution. Like what I found out later that CarePredict has, and the conversation I was having with this client is, you know, we're building a brand new building and we need to put in emergency call, we need to put in technology for life safety, but why does all of this technology look like it was made in 1980? And we don't wanna be giving residents things that look like, you know, pieces of plastic that are yellow and not attractive, and we don't wanna be putting devices on the walls that look like they were made, you know, several decades ago. And I think there is an importance on the visual aspect and the design of the devices. So can you talk a little bit about that and how CarePredict has approached that problem? And then can you dive a little bit more into maybe specifically to start with just the emergency call and the wander product that you have?Tiffany:
Yeah, absolutely. So I'll touch on all that and I'll start with the caregiver's experience using the product. So when we talk about modernizing technologies that they are using every day , we all know you and I know if , you know, if we're using a, you know, a DOS system to do our job every day , we're probably going to be less efficient, right? We're probably not going to enjoy the process. It's just not modern, right? So the design of our product is focused , on being user friendly to the person who's using it, right? Our product is a dashboard displayed on a smart or mobile device , that your caregivers would use to take alerts and also see location , um, and interact with the , software on the dashboard. so number one, they're , they're using a mobile device on their shift, right? So m walkie talkies , and then the staff or , so the residents are then going to be wearing a, a wearable on the wrist that looks much like what their caregivers are already wearing, such as the Apple Watch or the Samsung Watch, or the even Fitbit style wearables. So the residents are actually adopting these a lot faster. In addition to , the staff members who are okay with wearing these in the sense that they are very modern looking, it's a small, sleek design. the, there's one piece of technology that we use , for the , location information, and it's a beacon, right? The beacon and the tempo are both battery operated . so there's no infrastructure needed as far as electricity or , or ethernet. It's all wirelessly operated. very easy to use and maintain, no construction needed. So , um, the stigma of a pendant, right? So pendants are currently what are being used for call buttons , in most congregate communities. And so the stigma of a pendant can make a resident feel as if they are institutionalized. And so CarePredicts mission was to empower the dignified care and to reduce that, that stigma or , to make their residents feel at home because quite frankly, these are their homes most times. And so using technology that looks like the technology that the rest of the population is using is very important to our design.Amber:
So can you walk me through what exactly can be done from that device? So can you maybe describe what it looks like? I know you mentioned a Fitbit, if you, you know, does it look like that, like an Apple watch? And does that device, does it have the capabilities to do all of the different things you mentioned with the falls technology the wander guard , the location management, things like that?Tiffany:
Yeah, absolutely. So , the technologies that operators and caregivers are using and shopping for these days are the, you know, the laundry management systems, the fall detection, the two-way audio , um, and the staff communications devices. So what we've done is we have built out our own platform , um, that provides these four things and more, and I'll go through the extra features , um, but to , to start at the top with those essentials that operators and caregivers are using every single day. so what, what does the device do? So , it's not a touch screen . Like we may equate like our , like our generation uses, um, like on the Apple Watch, it's not a touch s creen, and that's on purpose, right? Because there are dexterity issues, there are visual issues. the device that's w orn on the wrist t o the tempo, it's, built. It's just, it's a black square much the size of an Apple watch. we compare it to that often because it just is very similar. it's not an Apple watch. It could , it collects much of the information that the , uh, that those devices, those other smart wearables might heart rate activity level. it'll detect falls because it has sensors on board that will, that will do that. It'll detect acceleration , and , humidity sensing and all of these different pieces of technology that , that other , folks in the population are wearing. but it d oesn't specifically for the senior living setting. So focusing on call buttons, right? So the face of the tempo wearable has a button. So if a resident presses the button, just quickly, it's actually going to read the d ate, the date and the time. And then fourth, it's going to tell the battery level of the tempo. so it's always possible to know what, what the battery level is there. and the battery is swapable and we'll get into to that technical , in just a few, but I wanted to mention that because it allows for 24/7 wearing , and so that's going to , the call button's going to connect to a caregiver in the mobile device that they're carrying. And so that mobile device is going to be, we're agnostic to which device you choose for your staff. but it's going to show an alert on the screen much like your caregivers are used to when they accept a text message or a phone call, right? so they're gonna open up two-way audio with their resident, and this is the most innovative in the space because no other wearable is doing everything we're doing and providing that peace of mind to the resident to be able to speak with their caregiver immediately, right? What this does for the caregiver is it's allowing them to prioritize their calls. So it is no mystery if you've ever been in a senior living community that at any given time, a caregiver has 10 things going on at once. Right? so this allows them to triage their calls , um, and prioritize their work.Amber:
One of the things I imagine people listen to this podcast are wondering is that an investment in emergency call system or a call system or , uh, pendant system, things like that. It's a pretty big investment. So if, if a community has recently made that investment or they're not interested in reimplementing that, do you integrate with existing systems or can you talk about what would be the use case in that scenario?Tiffany:
Absolutely. So we are , we are integration ready and we're interoperable with other technologies as well. So in, in most cases where we use this is say , a, a operator has , pull cords and they wanna keep those pull cords in the community and they, they wanna keep the existing program, those are on. but they wanna use CarePredict primarily. this is specific in the case of , when you have a CCRC community , and you have a skilled nursing setting, and then you also have a assisted living, independent living. Well no doubt the, the uses and the operations are very different. but to unify across one platform, we pull those alerts from the , say the pull cords to the Care Predict platform. So, the caregiver, the end user is going to have the very same experience , despite having multiple softwares , pushing the alerts, they're going to receive the alerts on one platform.Amber:
Okay . Got it. That makes sense. And I know you mentioned earlier that these devices are dependent on wifi . So can you talk a little bit about what you're looking for a community to have prepped or what should they know before they would be looking at a solution carepredict?Tiffany:
Yeah, so we are wifi dependent, and that is , that's been built out for the , uh, the, you know , the operator who's focused on having a lower infrastructure. You mentioned, you know, in a construction planning setting , you we're looking at infrastructure, right? Electrical happens very early on when you're mapping out low voltage electric for , for , a call system that's reliant on the low voltage , you're gonna have to map that out with electricity and wiring and all of these things. Carepredict runs on wifi exclusively. for the very purpose of it being a simpler design, no need to map those out, no need to spend the extra , um, cash flow capital on that. w e, our infrastructure is built to be easy to use and there is no it, p rofessional requirements to, t o live on s ite as far as, y ou know, you don't have to have, an IT person to manage your system. Your end u ser's really going to be the driver of the, the input in addition to the most significant driver of the input is just, just simply the residents and staff wearing the wearable, c uz it's gonna collect all of the information.Amber:
Got it. That makes sense. And yeah , this, this is in line with something that I say at all the , conferences that I present at is that wireless is definitely sort of that, that core system we wanna have in place when we're doing new technology design or new construction , to make sure that systems like this are able to be implemented and , for the community to be innovative. I wanna go back to in the very beginning of our conversation, you mentioned that Care Predict is an AI system. Can you explain what that means? Cause I feel like we hear the term , AI a lot and it can be used in a lot of different contexts. So can you just dive into that a little bit more?Tiffany:
Yeah. The AI I involved in when we're talking about Care Predict is , um, we're using activity based information. We're, we're pulling data , from multiple different sensors and locations and , you know, folks who aren't very technologically, you know , savvy or literate, you don't have to be to, to really understand the background of it. We're just pulling a ton of different information and we're putting it all together in algorithms that are producing a consistent data result. And these data points are allowing , um, for easier operation. So for example, when we're talking about , UTI prevention or detection or prediction, right? the data points that are being pulled through the care predict system would be , um, how frequently does the residents visit the restroom, right? And so this, this could be , uh, the restroom, whether it's in their unit specifically or if they're in a , a different level of care, if they're using the , the public facilities, doesn't matter, the system's gonna pull the information frequency and duration of when that resident is interacting in with a bathroom location, right? So , it can be , it can be assumed that they're using the bathroom when they're in there, right? We even have a, detection on dwelling time . So if the dwelling time in the bathroom is , um, longer than the predetermined range , say 15 minutes, right? There's going to be an alert that can be sent to caregivers to indicate that the resident is, has been toileting for far too long. They may need some assistance, right? And that alert will be driven directly to a caregiver. and on the screen you would see , the caregiver would see the name and the location of the resident, the location right down to the room.Amber:
Got it. Yeah, that's , that's really interesting. Is there, do you know, is , I'm just curious, I dunno if you're allowed to say this , are there other products in the marketplace that have that capability?Tiffany:
So there are different products that do sensing, ambient sensing very, very well, and they should , um, our product follows our resident throughout the entire community. So yes, there are technologies that do , um, sense or , um, or monitor remotely the bathroom usage or, or the ambulation or, or different activity movements. what is unique about ours is we baseline the information. So we take the information after a resident has worn our Tempo device for , uh, greater than two weeks , um, they're going to get a baseline established, right? And then every , four weeks, the baseline is calculated as a rolling baseline. So we know how often Jane Doe frequently uses the restroom. We know that it's typically five times a day. What the AI does in this scenario is it's going to detect when they're outliers and then it's going to , push a report through to the caregivers and management to say, Hey, Jane Doe and, you know, these X amount of other residents are outside of their baselines , for this, this week , the past two days, past month, right? So these reports are gonna be pushed to the caregivers. and this is a very attractive feature because they don't have to go searching through medical records to find out , um, exactly what behaviors have gone on, what activity has gone on. This is what keeps our residents in their, their place longer. It allows them to age in place and reduce their hospitalizations. Um, as we know, those can tend to be factors that, that pull them outta the community permanently or it can bring them back into the community with other issues. or just simply the disruption of of them leaving the community can be , um, pretty significant to , a resident and the community both.Amber:
Yeah, that's really interesting. Are you able to integrate with the electronic medical record system so that all of that , health information could be pulled into one place?Tiffany:
Absolutely. Absolutely. Operators are asking for , demographic information for that census based billing , for live and real time information to be transferred through. Um, and we are actually, yep , we're in P'S marketplace , matrix Care, e t c etera. So we have an open internet api. we are willing to integrate if, if the other party is. So we're very proud of that. That's been s uper, super helpful for that interoperability, reform in h ealthcare, which is so necessary.Amber:
Yeah, that's really fantastic. I think it's been an issue in this industry for a really long time to have so many disparate systems and the inability of those systems to talk to each other, to really give us this more complete picture to the residents health for better quality of care overall. So I think it's really exciting to hear that you're able to do that and to just take us a little bit closer to that, you know, ideal world in which we can have essentially managed location for everything to do with the resident.Tiffany:
Absolutely. Yeah. And , and that's our mission. We're we're here to provide that easier experience for the end result being so that everyone benefits.Amber:
Yeah. So one of the things I wanna ask you about is , I'm , I'm curious to hear what are some of the common challenges that you, you have heard from your clients? And specifically I wanted to go back to what you mentioned earlier with the device and the battery. And I know I've heard some concerns from some of the people I've talked to about the , you know, kind of how that works. Could you talk about that a little bit?Tiffany:
Yeah, absolutely. And , and that is a valid concern. I would say I hear from most prospects. They , they ask, help me understand this battery change because all my caregivers are hearing is one more thing to do, right? And that can be triggering or buzzing. when you have caregivers who's , you know, quite frankly, their hair is on fire, you know, as we speak, like I said before, at any given moment, they have a thousand things to do, right? so Care Predict is focusing on putting the care back into the caregiver's hands and allowing them to prioritize it and give it in the best way possible. So when it comes to the battery changes, so the battery and the tempo, and then the battery and the location Beacon are both , they're both changeable. So the, I'll talk about them respectively. The Tempo Battery has a 24 to 36 hour wear time , right? Depending on how much the resident is using it. I know when I got my Apple Watch, I was, I was surprised by , how long it would last if I didn't take a phone call on it, right? and the utilization definitely correlated with the li the duration of the battery. So , um, same goes with our device. The reason we have the Swapable battery, like I mentioned before, is to allow that 24 7 monitoring. So with all of that being said , it's being a very popular question. any of my customers would agree that it's a non-event to change these batteries out. It simply pulls right out of the side of the tempo and gets replaced with a full battery. Each tempo comes with a duo battery charger, so they come with two batteries. and then of course, caregivers have a, they have a , plethora of, of charged full batteries too, and they have , um, chargers at their stations or wherever they choose to put it in the community. So there's not typically a shortage of charged batteries. The caregivers find that it's a non-event to swap these out, so they're able to build it into their workflow . They're already touching residents at least once per day. so it's an easy task to add on. They can also, if they're interacting with a resident, they can also press the tempo button, like I said, that one time and get the date, the time and the battery level. Also, the third precaution that we've taken is on the caregiver's device, on the home screen of their CarePredict platform, they're gonna see two little options. And one of those is tempos not worn, and it's gonna show the number of tempos that are not being worn at the current moment. So it's always on the dashboard , that the caregiver can access of who isn't wearing their tempo. And that list can even provide qualified information on, well, maybe you have two non worn tempos. Well, maybe those are both out of the community at this time, and that's why. So , um, that's one report. And then the second report is the battery life. So the battery , report and status shows all of the battery levels . So as long as the tempo is being worn and it's online, it's going to report back to the system, tell the system the battery level. So with that being said, you can get alerts scheduled when the battery gets to be too low. So say you have 10 residents with a battery that's on yellow, you have five hours to replace these. Um, typically it's able to be built into the workflow .Amber:
Okay. That makes sense. Are you considering doing a chargeable battery in the future?Tiffany:
So the , interestingly enough, so I'm not, I'm not building the product out by any means, but I know that this is a pos or it's a hot question because we don't want to add any work to our, our caregivers, right? So this is essentially the only maintenance task involved since our system is picking up all of the information that it needs to based on just being worn . so to answer your question, I don't know what's in the, the pipeline for that other roadmap . but I can say that the function for 24 7 wearing is at the forefront. So that is the priority right now.Amber:
Okay , got it. Are there any , one thing I always like to ask , vendors or partners who come on this show is, are there any specific clients that you've worked with or any success stories that come to mind that you can share?Tiffany:
Yes. Yes, absolutely. So , we actually have a , a local CCRC here in Cincinnati , where I'm from, and they have, they've established care predict across their, their continuum of care, and they, they're finding value in each level. a little bit to build on the last question you asked about , challenges that we see. and then to add that to the success story , um, in this specific situation, we had a resident who , um, who wasn't bought in to care, predict upon initial installation and implementation , didn't like it, didn't wanna wear it. and this is representative of personalities who just simply feel like they don't wanna wear it. And, and we have those. And so that's, that's no mystery, and it both certainly is something that, that can be overcome. so this specific community I'm mentioning, they had , a guy who didn't wanna wear the wearable, didn't agree, didn't, didn't see the benefit of it , just hearing, you know , um, the , the original pitch, so to speak. He actually experienced a fall , um, a couple days later after the Care Predict system was implemented. And , he realized how valuable the care predict , wearable would have been for him , how , much quicker he would've been discovered, and how much he , he could have gotten care sooner. and not to mention he could have been in communication immediately with a caregiver who could have come and helped him. but unfortunately he didn't. and he, he suffered a little bit, he's okay now , wasn't, wasn't a significant event, but he's okay now. but he immediately saw the value in that and, and adopted it immediately. So , I don't believe he's had any subsequent falls since then , that were undetected, but the Tempo device is definitely seen as a safety feature, and it's worn. It's the only device that goes with the resident everywhere in the community. So he definitely saw the value in having that on him at all times.Amber:
Yeah, that's a , that's a great example. Tiffany, everything we've been talking about is so exciting, and I just love that this type of technology is coming to the industry. Can you share what is in the future for CarePredict what are you working on in the next 12 months?Tiffany:
Yeah , so I'll, I'll, before I go in , into what we're working on, what's going on in the future, I'll say a few of the things that I haven't mentioned yet. as far as features go , um, the, the device, the Tempo device is able to collect data through Bluetooth. So that's something that we historically were working on and finally released recently. So , there we have some approved devices that , can feed information directly into the tempo and thus pushing it into the ADL activity. So example being, you know, a Bluetooth glucose meter or a Bluetooth blood pressure cuff, can, can these feed readings into the tempo? The answer now is yes. so that's an exciting , uh, growth feature that we've had this year. so it , we're allowing, we're , we're creating baselines, right? So every time a resident is recording their blood pressure or their glucose or their weight, right, these are now being pushed into the system to, to receive a baseline and then also detect detects changes and degradations and alerts the caregivers through that. that the changes and , degradations, or , sorry, degradations , report. So we called that the out of baseline report. So that's been a, a huge feature that's been new recently. Another new feature , is called Care Voice. care Voice is where we're able to set reminders for our residents , um, in the voice of their choice, right? So maybe it's their, their grandchild or their family member who wants to say, you know, at 4:00 PM every day the recording goes off and says, Hey mom, you know , it's time to take your meds. Or, Hey, grandma, don't forget to go walking today. so that's a huge popular feature now too . Um, we are also able to open up electronic door locks as a key fob. So instead of a resident more in the independent and assisted realms, instead of them carrying that key fob or that key card or , um, where that could potentially get lost, or it's simply just one more thing to carry, we're taking that off their plate and we're, we're putting the key fob feature inside of the Tempo wearable so they can open up their unit door with their tempo. That's been a huge sticking point for our independent living residents. and also passive check in for independent living residents. They're able to simply wear their tempo. and then an exception report is sent to , the caregiving staff to let them know who has moved around, who has not moved around yet today, and, and maybe they need to be checked on. so those are just a few features that I hadn't mentioned yet , that are pretty popular. But as far as what's coming next , um, we we're seeing some quality of life assessments and scores. in the future. Automated voice prompted assessments, so much like our care voice with a reminder , um, our care voice couldn't , could prompt a , an assessment to ask, you know, scale of one to 10, how are you feeling today? Or , or, or , um, or any, any subjective information that needs to be collected , could be done that way. We're also looking to detect early signs of mci. The mild cognitive impairment, as we know, is a prelude to dementia. So we're looking at , cognitive impairment scoring and detection , um, sleep phases, duration, or even having some hardware evolution, so cellular and GPS detection for the residents when they're outside of the community. So we think in the independent living space , um, these folks don't stay at the community all the time, right? So , you know, if a fall is detected offsite , um, the caregivers are able to be alerted. And and that's a huge feature , um, that's, that's popular with the independent , population these days. We are looking at FDA approval that should come in the next year. Um, we're really, really excited for that as it'll give, you know, that validation and that benchmark of, you know, how accurate our, our technology is. so that's really exciting. Um, and then of course , continuous measurements on automated gate , stride length , et cetera . We are committed to meeting the needs of the industry. and one feature I didn't mention , that demonstrates that was the contact tracing. So since we have all of this robust data on our residents, our staff, our visitors, we're able to provide a contact tracing , dashboard that is very easy to use, very user friendly, and it has , um, it has real time location information so we can filter down to see a person of interest. So maybe someone was diagnosed with a contagious illness , um, and they need to be isolated, right? So we're able to, to filter per date and in person and see all of their primary contacts, secondary contacts , um, and even the areas where they, where they, they hung out, right? So we can even decontaminate based on the report that is given to us , from the contact tracing solution. The cool piece about this is, and the reason I'm mentioning it now, when you ask kind of about what we have in the future, this was something that we , our , our engineers and technologists were able to build and release with from , from seven days , from inception to, to general release. So we were able to provide in the midst of the pandemic our caregivers with an automated solution to help them complete a contact tracing task that formally took them hours and days to complete. And it was exhausting. It took them out of their caregiving, right? So this just speaks to our, our mission and our commitment to evolving with the industry and continuing to deliver in whatever way that we are capable to our customers and to the industry.Amber:
That's fantastic. I really like the door FOB integration. That's something that we hear a lot of requests on, is they wanna be able to manage everything from, from just the one device that they can wear. one of the things I wanna ask you before we wrap up, has Care Predict considered moving into the home care market? I'm wondering if some of this technology could be used to keep people in the home longer, or is this really meant for more of a residential situation where there can be , uh, staff monitoring the alerts?Tiffany:
Great question and great call out . I, would be remissed if I didn't mention that feature. So we actually are, are in with home care agencies across the nation, and these home care caregivers are utilizing the Care Predict at Home feature. and that division of our business is handled, in a different department. I don't handle that at home , which is probably why I hadn't mentioned it yet, I apologize. But we do facilitate that. And Home care is a huge , a huge source of information because we're able to collect information and still provide that value to the resident while they're in their , in their home. and then of course transferring that information , to their caregivers when they go into the community. so we are looking at, you know, some CCRC have home care businesses, and so we talk a lot with the CCRC that we're with to , um, to build that out into their home care realm for expanding the care and expanding the, touch and the the ability to serve that resident longer.Amber:
Yeah. And then there , there's the home care side, which you're talking about, which is the, you know , still provided by a community, but I'm curious if it's just would be available to seniors just individually who live in their home independently.Tiffany:
Absolutely. Yep . And we have a, we have a base of customers who actually utilize it just independently on their own, in their community. and it was cool. I was actually at the Ohio Assisted Living Association conference, and a woman came up to me and she said, we just got this from my father-in-law at his home. And we love it because we live two hours away and we're able to see and check in on his activity , um, and also received critical alerts whenever there is something going on. so it's really adding the peace of mind to the resident or to the , sorry, to the person in their home, and then also to their family members . So it is an exciting , and hot , um, hot feature for the at home product.Amber:
Yeah. And really a lot of implications for seniors who wanna remain in their homes longer. So that's really fantastic to hear. Yeah . Tiffany , is there anything we didn't cover that you want our listeners to know?Tiffany:
I think we covered most of it. we're really just continuing to just emphasize how we're built for caregivers, for residents, for family members to provide the safety to our seniors in a simple and easy manner. And, and even in situations where , operators are having staff shortages or they have agency staff in their buildings or , you know, there's , they're , they're looking for utilization analysis. We have that data, so we're able to provide data that operators can use in their own unique way. So we are not a one size fits all standard system. all of our alerts reports, data, everything is customizable in our Wonder Management feature. I don't think we delve too deep into that, but the Wonder Management feature , is huge too because we're, we're able to detect when a resident is wandering outside of a predetermined boundary and that alert goes straight to the caregiver , and opens up a call or, or however that alert is customizably set to that , caregiver or operation. just continuing to build it out to make it easier with a low infrastructure and at a budget that the community can afford. Lot of lots of people ask, this all sounds wonderful and great, what's the cost ? Right? We're very competitive , um, in the sense of we're, we're comparing very closely to just what is a call system. And so in that regard, people are finding that they have all of this, this breadth of feature and this robust data and all of these features, and they're getting it at nearly the same cost as a call system. Um, so that's something that I , I always like to shout out. We are budget friendly , um, and it sounds like a lot and it's really good. and, and of course I'm passionate about it, right? I'm here. I was a formerly a clinical dietician in this senior living space, and so I get it, and I, I know how frustrating , it can be to search for data that you can't find. and to have it in our system to be driven straight to us is just such a , a blessing and a convenience.Amber:
Well, thank you so much for joining me, Tiffany. This is a podcast episode I was really looking forward to, I was telling people we're gonna talk to Care Predict . I'm so excited to ask them questions and learn about their products. So really appreciate your time and joining the show today.Tiffany:
Thank you so much , Amber. Yeah , no , I appreciate you, you having me on and, and then and tell people , more about us. So ,, thanks. Appreciate it.Amber:
Thanks so much again for joining me today. And listeners, if you have ideas or topics or you'd like to be featured on a future episode , you can find us on our website parasolalliance.com. And thank you for listening .
In this episode of Raising Tech, our host Amber Bardon has a great conversation with Tiffany Naticchioni at CarePredict to talk about enabling quality care, anywhere, through an AI-Powered digital health platform.
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Welcome back to Raising Tech, the podcast about all things technology and senior living. I’m your host, Amber Bardon, and today we have a very special guest from one of our clients. Nicole Pretre , the CEO of Cedar Community, is joining us on today’s show. Welcome to the show, Nicole.
Thank you very much for having me, Amber. I’m excited to be here.
To start off with, I just wanna give a little background about our , history with Cedar Community, what we’ve been working with you on, just to let our listeners know. So, Cedar Community became a client of ours , about three years ago. And we came in and we did a strategic plan, which we’ve done , with all of our clients, and we work through the majority of that plan. And we actually just did a new three year strategic plan, which was really exciting because I feel like the first three years we had to focus on a lot of infrastructure and back office backend infrastructure, things that, you know, aren’t super exciting, but how to get taken care of. And I’m really excited , for the next three years. Cause I think there’s a lot of chances for optimization and system efficiency, and especially innovation, which we wanna talk about today. And I had asked you to join the show because Cedar Community is doing some innovative things. You’ve tried some innovative things that didn’t work out. I think our listeners will really enjoy hearing your perspective. So would you mind giving us a little intro of your background, yourself, and a little bit about Cedar Community to start with?
Sure. So Cedar Community, we’ve been around for just about 70 years. We were founded back in 1953, a Faith Based not for Profit . We’re located in West Bend, Wisconsin. We have five campuses and we have been serving seniors, like I said , independent living through end of Life Care. So Full Care Continuum plus Home Health and Hospice. About on average 900 to a thousand residents , and a large staff too. So, you know, 400 and plus staff members, which obviously tech is hugely important too . But you know, as far as myself, I’ve been with Cedar Community for 11 years. I’ve been the CEO for a year and a half now. So I’ve had experience in just about every department of the organization, I should say. In my background of sales and marketing and fundraising, which is my primary world that I came from. as well as a , I have a media background, but , so obviously those three areas in sales and marketing and fundraising, I literally touched every aspect of what we did as an organization throughout my career here. So it was really nice to be able to take that experience , both professionally and at Cedar community inside and outside Cedar community, I guess you could say, into my current role.
Nicole, can you give our listeners a little bit of a background of the evolution of technology at Cedar Community? It was in one place before we started working with you, and then since you became the ceo , I know you have a very specific vision of how you would like to see technology utilize at Cedar Community. Do you mind sharing that?
Sure. You know, we were probably like a lot of you know, senior living organizations, especially in the not-for-profit part side where, you know , we had sort of an internal IT department with a number of individuals here , great individuals but I would say that , you know, not a lot of advancement, you know, we were kind of maintaining, we were kind of status quo , um, with our tech. And had an opportunity with a leadership change in our tech , area to kind of start to look at what else could be out there. started to look at the companies around us , tried to partner with one , um, company that didn’t work out. fortunately , through some connections and some networking with some of our peers , um, we kind of , hooked up with Parasol. And so , and like you said, when you came on with us three years ago, we were still at a point where the infrastructure was, I would say antiquated. I guess that’s a nice word, a nice way of putting it. I’m sure a lot of other senior living organizations are in that same boat. And we really needed to look at, like you said, that back of house stuff, that stuff that , really needed to be brought up to date. and the , as you said too , the hard part about that was that’s the stuff that your , your team members and your residents don’t see. so it’s all o f a sudden we have this new partner a nd technology and they’re doing all this work, but they weren’t seeing it. So it was like, what are they doing? You know? And so that’s hard. So communicating that what’s going on I think is really important. I think we learned along the way that we needed to do a better job of communicating what was actually happening behind the scenes since it wasn’t necessarily front f acing to residents and team members. Like you said, we’re getting to a point now where we’ve turned that corner a little bit. We’re starting to pivot to those systems and programs and whatnot that are impactful to residents and to team members. and that’s really what we need to do as an organization is continue to advance our technology, continue to work, to put systems in place that talk to each other. Becuase I’m sure like a lot of other companies too, we had , you know, 50 different programs and none of them talk to each other. and so that’s I think a really important part. But technology is so pivotal to the future of the delivery of aging services in our sector that we need to continue to find ways to, you know, optimize technology, find that return on investment in the technology that we have. and you know, the bottom line is the impact it has on the engagement with residents, the , um, making your, your team members lives a little easier in the very difficult jobs that they have. so really kind of bringing technology out from, you know, just talking about up updating servers and wifi and those types of un not not fun things, important things, but not necessarily fun, but , um, being able to implement and move us forward in the technology sector , um, so that we can take advantage of some of these really cool programs and, and companies that are emerging out there , um, that are so gonna be so important to us in the future.
Yeah, I really love everything you just said because it’s so in line with a lot of things that if anyone seen me and speak at any of the leading age conferences, we talk about building this technology culture, right? Mm-hmm . <affirmative> and kind of moving from this idea that it is just the computer at your desk to it’s ai, it’s robotics, it’s resident engagement, staff engagement, and , everything you just said is such a great example of how that , uh, company can make that progression and have that change and have that mindset shift. one of the things that I often say when I’m doing presentations is that I was at another conference and someone from Hershey was presenting and he said, Every company today is a technology company. Hershey’s is a technology company that happens to make chocolate. And I think if you kind of shift your mindset to thinking like technology is kind of the backbone that we do so much of our business on , um, it can kind of have people start to think about technology in a different way. I wanted to circle back to something that you mentioned and what you just said is , that staff buy-in and that leadership buy-in. Can you talk a little bit about how did that evolve and how did that happen at Cedar Community?
Well, I think, you know, early on , you know, we kind of had the one individual, the organization that was sort of the liaison and kind of in charge of it. and they were trying to communicate a lot of things that were happening in the change work that was happening. Um, and initially the leadership team wasn’t really involved kind of in what was happening. We were just kind of being told about what was going on. And then I think we realized that, you know, it was so much more efficient and effective for us to all be at the table, so to speak, when it came to understanding what was going on with those changes that were happening. There were very complicated changes in some cases , you know, some were not so complicated. But at the same time, if it’s not being communicated well and if your tired leadership team doesn’t have buy-in and support for what’s going on in those technology changes, that’s just gonna make it that much more difficult. You know, I think one of the biggest lessons we learned from, from the pandemic was that, you know, all this sudden technology was, you know, front and center for us, and not just in the care of our residents, but in the communication with residents and family members and team members. And we learned pretty quickly that we all needed to be at the table and understand exactly what was happening, because that was how , that was how we were communicating with the outside world for, you know, those, especially those early months of the pandemic. And so that was a really important part and I think an eye opener for many, for many of the folks at Cedar community, for our leadership team. and really understanding that we all needed to be a part of this conversation and a part of this advancement for us and that technology part of what we were doing, which as you said, it impacts everything we do. you know, you think about those days when your email goes down and you’re just sitting there and you’re like, Okay, I can’t really do anything today, <laugh>. I mean , you can’t , but you can’t, right? And so you feel kind of helpless , and it’s not until you hit those days that you realize this technology in our infrastructure affects every single aspect of what we do here. And so it needs to be that important and it needs to be the conversation at that leadership table for sure.
Yeah. Yeah. I love that. So let’s talk a little bit about innovation and technology. And I think there’s so much exciting things happening in senior living technology. I always say senior living technology is the most exciting technology field right now, but if you come from outside the industry, you might be like, what? But it’s such a growing market and we’re starting to see such a generational shift both in staff and residents that there’s so many new companies popping up, so many new things happening. And , I wanna talk a little bit about , what you , what Cedar Community has done, because you’ve had some successes and failures with innovation, and also what is the process that you go through when you’re thinking about innovation and technology? What are you looking for and what do you think are some of the risks?
Well, I think, you know, we, having, having an experience with trying to implement one of those new and exciting technologies , here at Cedar Community and hitting a few bumps along the way , I think you, like you said, it’s, it’s growing like crazy. I mean, you know, you step onto those expo floors at leading age or at Argentum and, you know, most of the folks out there are tech. and so it , it’s exciting, it’s overwhelming, I would say. But the thing is, is as exciting as it is and is the impact that you see, the positive impact it could have on your residents or on your communication or on some of your workflows or things of that nature , it’s a really important to make sure that you take that step back and make sure that your infrastructure can support that. that was the biggest lesson we learned in trying to implement one of those exciting new technologies out there. And we got to this point and realized we did not have the technology infrastructure we needed to completely implement it the way we envisioned. and we had to take a step back and we had to work with that company who helped us to restructure the contract and restructure our future plans for the , what , what was that tech able to do for us, you know? And , and we’re still working with them and it’s, it’s what we do have and what we are able to do is, is going well. But it was a , it was a tough lesson learned and, and in some cases it a little bit of an expensive lesson learned too. So I would say, you know, make sure that it’s, it , you can, you have the capability to implement it and that what you think it’s going to accomplish. You know, make sure that you’ve got the information to be able to really back that up. You know, what are the , what is the data that they have, what are the metrics that you can look at to make sure that that investment you’re making is going to have a return for you, Whether that’s a financial return so to speak, or a return on the engagement level with your residents and your team members because there’s nothing more painful. Well, there probably is, but it’s pretty painful to get all excited and have all this hype around this huge launch and then have to walk it back. that was really hard. It was hard for the residents to understand why we had to walk it back for the team members. And , so that was a tough lesson learned. And I think with all of the new tech that’s out there, like I said, it’s pretty cool stuff and it’s exciting. but some of them are very, very new as well. And you might wanna , it’s like you don’t wanna buy that first model year of that car, right? You wanna give ’em a little time to make sure that, that they can deliver on what they’re talking about. And so, I don’t know , I would probably be reluctant to jump into something brand new. maybe , give it a little time or make sure that they have, they have the metrics to back up what they’re talking about in terms of what they think they say that they can deliver.
Yeah, that’s something I was thinking about while you were talking is I do think there is a burden on the vendors , especially vendors that are coming from a different industry such as hospitals or retail or something like that. A lot of them, a lot of the ones that I interact with, they don’t really have a real understanding of how behind the senior living industry is in a lot of aspects. So their system may rely on wall to wall wifi , and they’re making assumptions that that will work. and then may put their product in and then realize later, Oh actually this is not going to work. Basically some of the requirements that they have for their system to work , uh, we’re not able to be met and those were just kind of glossed over as not being a big deal and we’ll figure it out. And I think it doesn’t , um, it’s not a good look for the vendors either if they’re promising you that the system can do something and without doing their due diligence. And I think that’s just a learning curve , um, that both providers and vendors , uh, need to work through as all all of these new and exciting things are happening.
And I think another part of that too, Amber, is, you know, like you said, a lot of the tech companies, they’re , they’re from the world of tech, right? They’re from, you know, different and they don’t understand the regulatory environment that we sit in as well. And so I think, you know, I, there’s a couple of different times I’ve gotten these, you know, emails and pitches of different, at different points and they’re like, We can do this and this with video and this with , and okay, well, and where we are located video is illegal <laugh> . So you know it , you know, and they , it’s the greatest thing and they can, you know, solve all these problems or help you with these issues. but regulatory-wise we can’t do it. you know, I have a , my administrator i s, i s looking for what types of tech is out there for fall detection, um, i s a good example. But there are some things out there that just regulatory-wise we can’t do , in our, and especially in the skilled nursing environment. and the other part of it is, you know, we’re sitting, most of us, I shouldn’t classify all of us, but many of us are sitting in very old buildings, concrete block buildings, and we simply don’t have the ability to, to put some of these things in place. because we are, you know, these black holes of cellular service or wifi service or even, you know, some of the things I’ve seen that are like in floor sensor technologies and stuff like that, we can’t, we can’t dig into our concrete floors, you know, so not everything is applicable to our environments from either a structure perspective or a regulatory perspective.
Yeah. That falls , falls prevention, falls detection is a really , interesting concept. There’s , the virtusense product, which they’ve been in our podcast. And that’s a great example of a tech innovator who came to the industry from a personal experience and created a great company. Um, I think that they’re trying to extend their system to assisted living. I’ve kind of heard mixed results on , um, how well it works in assisted living cause it’s really meant to be captured in in one room. and then there’s the safely you product, which has the cameras, which has , privacy concerns, especially in common areas or shared rooms and things like that. And the newest one I’m super excited about, I’m working on scheduling a call, is with a company that has smart socks. they’re currently in the post-acute , uh, actually acute setting and they’re looking to expand a senior living. So I wanna have a conversation with them about that, cuz I think that that’s really interesting. But one of the things I wanna ask you about is there is so much emphasis right now on how can we increase staff efficiency or reduced costs in staffing. And this is a really hot topic actually, I’m hoping to do a podcast on this in the future. We’re working on planning something to focus on this specific topic, but how do you balance competing needs across infrastructure, staff efficiency , um, staff engagement, resident needs? What is , uh, what is your perspective on how to balance that?
I would say, you know, when we first started talking about programs and, you know, advancing technology, our initial focus was on residents and you know, how do we get that resident engagement part, you know, moving forward and with the new technology that’s out there. But I think now, if you ask that same question of us because of what we’re facing when it comes to workforce and the shortages and the challenges we face, I would probably say that workforce is our top priority now , in terms of the technology component and how can we , um, you know, automate some things if we can, How do we create efficiencies , you know, how do we make our workforces lives easier , um, when they’re doing their jobs? Because, you know, in many cases these are very difficult jobs. And again, I go back to that regulatory environment, it’s, it’s, it’s so incredibly important for us to, you know, have everything documented the way it needs to be documented. And I think right now you’re gonna see a shift , um, you know, with the workforce challenges we face cuz these are not, this is not a short term workforce challenge. This is here to stay. And so that’s gonna continue to be incredibly important. Um, and so it’s gonna be important for us to continue to find the balance of advancing our technology for both the workforce and for the residents. Um, and, and how we can do that efficiently and how can, how do we afford to do that? Um, quite frankly. So that’s gonna have to be something we’ll continue to evaluate as we go and, you know, make sure that that’s a huge part of, of our strategic planning, our strategic IT planning , um, as we move forward as an organization.
One of the things I wanna ask your , um, thoughts on is, let’s say you do find some new technology, it’s exciting, we get it in, it’s working as intended. How do you then go back and measure the roi, the positive resident outcomes, the workforce impact? What are your , what do you think is the best way to measure that and to get a good sense of that?
Well , obviously I think it depends on the tech and depends on what the outcomes of that tech can be, because obviously some things are very measurable. when it comes to , um, you know, when it comes to a workforce technology for example, is it, is it , you know , decreasing staff time in certain areas? Is it, is it decreasing redundancy in staff processes? You know, those types of things. So I think those are some things you can look at and measure when it comes to some of the workforce tech that’s out there. for resident engagement tech , um, you know, it might be something where you see , um, you know, a particular attendance increase for residents or feedback from residents, you know, so that might be a little bit more challenging. But , um, I think that, you know, depending on the technology that you’re looking to implement, I think identifying things you can measure because , you know, what’s, get me what gets measured, you know, shows accomplishment or shows that, you know, a return , like you said, that return. And so that’s important for you to be able to share too with people like your boards of directors , um, as to why you’re making these types of investments. Not just because it’s cool tech, but because it’s actually accomplishing something. So I think depending on the tech you have, kind of thinking about that at the beginning, how are we gonna measure it? Because I’m guessing, depending on the type of tech, there are many different ways you could do that, but it’s hugely important
With so much new technology coming out and so many options, what do you see is going to be the future impact when it comes to marketing communities based on the technology that they have?
Well now you’re speaking my language, right? Marketing. So honestly as you know, it’s , as everybody knows the mark , most marketing starts on Google <laugh> , or I shouldn’t say Google. Most marketing starts on the internet. And if you don’t have a dynamic and content filled website , um, if you’re not facing or you’re not focusing on your, you know, your digital marketing, if you’re not focusing on what that, what your digital presence is , um, you know, that’s, that’s key. You know, I think I read a recent statistic that something like, you know, about 37% on average of leads coming in right now to senior living are starting on the internet or coming through the internet and, you know, referral based business is always important. I think paying attention to your, your reviews and your ratings online , um, you know, that’s something that people are starting to pay more attention to. You know, how many, how many of us shop online and decide what we’re gonna buy based on what everybody else says about it. <laugh>, you know, it’s really important technology and the ability to put , um, technology based , different types of , um, programs, embed those things into your website. You know, we have several of those embedded into our website. We’re taking advantage of tech that’s out there in our digital marketing space through our, our online presence. And that’s really important to be able to do. That’s gonna continue to be incredibly important. Paying attention to the back side , the backend, the, the, you know, the SEO and the SEM is really important as well. And , but I I would also go back to the metrics, right? You need to measure and what you’re doing, you need to go into those analytics. You need to see where your traffic is coming from, why it’s coming from those different areas, what’s driving, what content are you using in other areas of the web, you know, the internet , um, to drive folks to your website. And then once you get to the website, what actions are they taking and what actions do you hope they take? Is it a phone call they’re making? Is it a pdf they’re downloading? You know, marketing is, marketing is about metrics and technology makes that a lot easier. And there are so many different platforms out there that are so critical to what you do and it makes your process easier. so if people aren’t paying attention to that right now in the marketing world , uh, for senior living, you know, cuz and it’s interesting too because we have two audiences, you know, in senior living we have the senior themselves and we have the adult children or the, you know, as they call ’em the decision maker or the influencer. And so you have to always think about it from two different perspectives as well in terms of how you’re coming across through that technology. Mm-hmm .
<affirmative>. Yeah. Yeah, I think there is a lot of new technology around that marketing component that I think is , is really cool and interesting. And we’ve had some of those products on our , um, podcast before. Another aspect of that that I was thinking about is how much does the technology that’s in the building factor into the decision making process for potentially future residents? And I, I we , you know, we work with pretty much for the most part, not for profit . So I’m not really sure what’s happening in the for profit world. I’m not sure if brand new buildings are going up that have just like wall to wall , innovative, cool, new technology. I’m kind of thinking maybe not because that’s more cost , but I’m just curious as, as we start to see more and more of this new things and new exciting things and trends put into different buildings, if that’s going to eventually lead to be being a decision point.
I think right now it’s a decision point more from the perspective of the adult child mm-hmm . <affirmative> , uh, versus the prospect, you know, the prospective resident. We have touted some of the technology that we’ve put into place and you know, it’s a mixed reaction I would say , um, based on the audience that, you know, that you’re , you’re talking to. So I , I think it’s gonna continue to be important to think about that. And if, if you’re renovating or you’re building, not necessarily, you know, putting all this stuff in place right off the bat, but maybe making sure that your infrastructure is prepared for that in the future as that continues to evolve. And as we see this generational shift begin to happen in senior living, you know , everybody talks about those baby boomers, you know, the baby boomers aren’t really to us yet. I mean the beginning, there’s no question about that. They’re, they’re in our independent living right now, but the bulk of those baby boomers are not, they’re not here yet for us. And so , um, that’s gonna be something we’re gonna have to continue to be prepared to continue to evolve with in terms of that generation and, and the future , um, technology options that are gonna come. Because, you know , if the last couple of years have shown us anything, it’s, it’s shown us that there is going to be so much technology available in so many different realms of senior living, clinical and residential and communication and marketing and all of those areas. Um, we need to be forward thinking and think about how are we going to be prepared to implement those, those different technologies from an infrastructure perspective.
Yeah, and I think going back to what we were talking about with outcomes as well, is if you can show positive outcomes, it comes from the technology that could be used in your marketing to say that we’re able to prevent up to 90% of falls or we have wellness and active monitoring happening where we can , um, people can, you know, wear a a , a Fitbit type looking device and we can get their vital signs. So we have ongoing analytics and there might be some people who don’t want that too, which is interesting to think
About. That’s very true. I mean, I think one of the things we’ve looked at, you know, I mean there’s a lot of, a lot of , um, voice technology out there right now and there’s a lot of skepticism about that too. Um, so, you know, we’ve talked about it. How neat is that? Let’s do that. It’s , it’s so convenient and easy for folks to use. Um, there’s a big group of people out there , um, you know, especially our older adults who are not, not crazy about that idea just yet. Um , so I think that’s gonna be something too, that we’ll see more adoption of that type of technology as we see this, this baby regeneration begin to move into the senior living space.
Yeah, I think it’s gonna be a really interesting next decade as we’re straddling this transition. We’re working with a lot of clients on new design, new , new , new build and you know, it’s kind of like, do we build for today or do we build for tomorrow? Or you know, kind of how do we do both? Like you were saying,
I mean, I think we , we experienced that firsthand here when you were talking . You know , we were talking before about one of our, our newer , um, campuses, if you will, and, you know, building these smart homes and it was sounded so cool and, and the residents that started moving in didn’t want anything to do with it. <laugh>, you know, and we’re not gonna force them to have these smart, these smart homes. so the great thing is, is they’re wired to be smart homes in the future. Very few, if any of our current residents that moved into those new spaces adopted any of that technology.
Well, Nicole , I’ve really enjoyed this conversation. Is there any words of advice you would like to pass on?
Words of advice? I would just say make sure that technology is an important part of your leadership conversation because it’s so important to everything we do. And have a roadmap , have a plan. If you don’t have a strategic IT plan , um, you need to start working on one because knowing where you are and knowing where you wanna be is great, but how in the heck do you get there? Um, and so I think that’s really, really important as well. And the other thing we’ve learned, one of the other lessons we’ve learned is overcommunicate, what’s going on? Because if people are kind of kept in the dark or they don’t understand why things are changing with your technology and they don’t get the why, then you’re gonna have pushback on that. And so that’s gonna be really important too.
Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for joining me today. I really enjoyed the conversation. Listeners, if you would like to submit a topic or you’d like to be featured on the podcast, you can find us on our website, parasolalliance com and thank you for listening
In this episode of Raising Tech, our host Amber Bardon sits down with Nicole Pretre, CEO at Cedar Community, to talk about her view and hands-on experience with technology innovation in senior living.
Learn how Cedar Community approached their transformative journey with IT by reimaging technology culture in senior living and through willingness to try new initiatives. Nicole shares a great perspective of technology through the lens of a CEO, providing words of wisdom and lessons learned along the way.
Raising Tech is powered by Parasol Alliance, The Strategic Planning & Full-Service IT Partner exclusively serving Senior Living Communities.
Welcome to Raising Tech, a podcast about all things technology in senior living. Today we have a special guest and I'm very excited to introduce Doug Lane, the territory manager for Wisconsin and Minnesota for Bear Robotics. Welcome to the show, Doug.Doug:
Yeah, thanks for having me. I'm excited to be here.Amber:
So I have been doing speaking events at multiple leading age conferences in a lot of different states, and one of the topics I speak about is innovation in senior living and also resident technology. And robots are a topic that comes up all the time. And at all the presentations I've been doing, I've been asking for show of hands of who's using robots. I usually get a couple of people and then I ask who's using robots successfully? And out of all of the states I've been to, there's just a very small number of people that are using the robots successfully. So I am really excited to dig into this topic with you. I would love to talk about so many different aspects of , um, what are the opportunities with robots? What are the risks? What are the things to know? But before we dive into that, do you wanna give a little bit background on yourself and Bear Robotics as a company?Doug:
Sure, That'd be great. I,'ve been with Bear Robotics for about a year. We've been around since 2017. I have a background starting way back in, in media. I work for the Onion newspaper many, many years ago and dispensing fake information out to the world. But I, after the 2008 financial crisis, I spent a lot of time both in a main role, but also on the side in food service in some form . I ran , some restaurants. I did some bartending on the side while I was going through my professional career, but then I, I kind of ventured into running a distillery. I worked for Belter , on the beverage side, selling, you know, items, food service equipment and , custom things to the brewing and distilling industry. But that kind of led me down this weird path , um, to how I arrived at Bear Robotics . And we are a company that's really focused on experience in food service. So many of us come from the realm. A lot of us havea very good comprehension and understanding of technology, and we have minds that kind of think like that. But we still, a lot of us have really tangible experience in food service. So, you know, myself, I thought this was a really exciting opportunity because I know how the struggle goes both in traditional restaurants and senior living. They're dealing with the same realities, the same pain. And , um, you know, Bear was really focused and started by people from tech. So we have two of our co-founders that are former senior engineers at Google, but they also had dabbled in owning restaurants. And they were the kind of people like, Oh, I , I love food and drink. I should open a place myself. And, you know, they kind of stumbled into the reality of like, Oh, this is a lot harder than it looks. So they quickly realized how important front of house staff is, how you really hinge on the front of house to succeed. And when you're burdened by a lot of these repetitive tasks and a lot of these things that are not providing high value , high impact effect on your customers, then you're kind of straying from your goal of providing great service. So our whole mentality is we're trying to help people provide outstanding hospitality by automating repetitive tasks. And those repetitive tasks are things like running food from the kitchen out to the floor, or busing dishes back to the dish pit , or , you know, maybe , helping at the host stand guiding people to their tables or even roaming around on a patrol at events or parties , um, or singing Happy birthday. That's one thing that like staff really love to give up, You know , I was like, Oh, I can have the robot go sing for me. It's , some people are very sad to have to lose that. But, you know, our, our thought process has always been that we're not replacing front of house staff because they are the most important part of the equation, But we are trying to reprioritize them to more high impact roles where they're not doing this back and forth, running around when they're probably already understaffed and they're already overstressed. So we're trying to take some of the stress and some of the low level responsibilities off their hands so they can really focus on this high value stuff, which is interacting with other human beings. So when I'm out there, I'm, I'm selling our robots, but I'm really selling the thought and concept behind automation and robotics because there's a lot of fears that come from this reality. And we're , we're trying to quell those and say that, you know , we're trying to be a tool forefront of house staff. We're not trying to be a replacement. And that's really what I do out in the market, both in with restaurants, in , in the food service industry and , and a lot with senior living on the , in the same side there.Amber:
I feel like there's so many different applications for robotics. And when we talk about that, there's a lot of things that come to mind for me. I was recently at the Missouri leading age conference, and there was someone in the presentation audience who's , they're using robot pets, which I thought was very interesting. She said they're very creepy, but they are a big hit . They use them in their memory care area. I know there's also robotics out there for medication, personal assistance, cleaning, and then of course the big one food service. So is bear focused exclusively on the food service piece of it? And if so, do you know why that decision was made or if they thought about branching out to some of the other areas?Doug:
Yeah, I mean, our focus really is food service. We have done some sanitizing and , and cleaning , automation in South Korea where we manufacture our robots. But , I think it's a more specialty need overseas that we're not necessarily really focusing on here. There are so many realms we're automation or robotics are, are entering. And even in food service, I mean, there's back of house automation and robotics for cooking and, and some of those back of house tasks, but they're very invasive. They require either, you know, new build outs or really invasive rebuilds, the kitchens, and they're very expensive. Our thought is that we want something that can be put in place that is gonna cost less than a person or a new employee, because typically there's someone you , you can't even find. So we want this not to require this huge investment. We want individual independent restaurant owners and senior living operators to be able to afford to do this. We're not trying to rely on having this massive, you know , restaurant chain partnership or huge senior living partnership for someone to be able to get involved. I mean , we have independent operators that are running a robot, that one robot in a , in an individual place is making a huge i huge impact. So, you know, we see the opportunity, but I mean, there's so many areas you could focus on. It's, it's hard to, to focus on all those different facets. And, and so I think food service is where we come from. That's where our experience is, and that's really where we're trying to focus. We're trying to branch off and do other things like, you know, elevator operations so that we can do food service delivery , throughout the facility and do room service or, or even, you know , secure package delivery within the same robot. Those are some of the other robots that we're gonna be debuting later this year and early next year. But food services is our origin, and I think that's really always going to be our priority.Amber:
Okay . That makes sense. So can you walk me through, at a practical level, sort of from the beginning, first of all, to start off with, how does a community know if getting a food service robot is right for them ?Doug:
Sure. Well, we go through a , typically it starts with a, you know, we'll , we'll hop on a Zoom call and just say, let's, let's talk about this. Let's show some examples and reference points of, of different tasks that the robot can do. And some of its basic requirements to be able to operate effectively in a space and the impact that we think we might be able to make , current staffing situations, whether that's, you know, you're understaffed and you just don't have enough, or maybe we can help you reprioritize your staff so that you're more adequately covered throughout different times of the day. But when we get past the initial interest and kind of walk through , then we start to want to vet like, is this a good fit for the robot? So , is the facility logistically a good fit? You know , uh, is there enough access? Is there enough room for operation? Is there a willingness from the staff to accept a robot? I mean, oftentimes we may have a poor logistical fit, but if we have a , a site that is excited about having it, they'll make it work. Sometimes we'll have a great logistical fit, but we just don't get the right communication from the team on site to the staff to understand why it's there. And we, and we show up and we want to get started, and people kind of have this negative perception of what the job , what the robot is there to do. And a lot of times it's that human component that is the more difficult thing to overcome. We have not perfect fits for sites that the robot has an awesome impact at . And we've had really great sites that should have worked that didn't because we just never got past that, that resistance. And that's something that I really focus on on new deployments is that, you know, the biggest thing is gonna be people's willingness to use the robot and their acceptance of it, and the willingness to trust that it's going to be there to do its job so that they can pivot and do these more high value roles. So that's our, that's our biggest challenge. And that, and we still deal with, and that's part of the , I think, people's natural fear of change and, and different technologies coming to market, is that they, they want to know that they're safe and secure, and they wanna know that, you know, this new technology's not there to take their jobs.Amber:
Can you talk a little bit more about the logistical fit? What are the requirements , that need to be in place in order for the robot, in order for the robot to work effectively? And from a technical standpoint, what is the robot working off of? Does it work off of wifi ? How does that all work? Can you explain that piece?Doug:
Well, we do want a good wifi connection, but the robot doesn't need that wifi connection to operate. It's really more for, if we wanna remote in to provide support on the fly, or to be able to pull data for, you know, daily usage reports, things like that. If we wanna run a software update, that's where we wanna have a good , uh, wifi connection. But , um, you know, let's say WiFi's down for the day, the robot owns that map of the space. It, it possesses all its knowledge that it needs to operate. So, you know, we'll have places with spotty wifi or , or tough signals if, if we can't get a good signal or maybe we're blocked by the network, we'll put our own networking kit in so that we can provide our own wifi access to the robot. But it's really more for those support components. The things that we really look for are, are the , the simplest things for humans to , to get past. So like clean floors, transitions, you know, even flat floors and doorway access. So is the robot going to be able to get in and out of the kitchen or past a secured door? If there's a door there, are you willing to have it open , uh, so that the robot can pass through it? We've been developing a door spring that the robot can talk to and communicate with so that when it approaches an obstacle, it can open on its own. But it's been going through a lot of beta testing. It's not available in the market. We've seen places that have put in motion sensor doors that don't work integrating with the robot, but they work, they activate as the robot approaches and they open. And we see , uh, facilities that have gotten by with just that. We also see places that say, I'm willing to prop the door open during meal service to let the robot pass in , in and out. And we sometimes will have a place that says, I , we can't have the door open, but they really want it to work, and they still have a long stretch from the kitchen to the dining room. So they might have their expo point where they load the robot up with food, be right outside the kitchen door. So there's different solutions. We tend to find that places that want to make it work, they will absolutely make it work. And places that are more hesitant and kind of questioning the decision before we even get there, that's where we typically have to deal with more of the human factor of getting past resistance. And sometimes we show up and we still have that barrier, and sometimes we win that war, and then sometimes we don't. And we're still in this early phase that we're getting past that people are still learning about how this technology can be effective and helpful. So, you know, I think as it becomes more widespread, we're gonna have less of that learning curve and there's gonna be more willingness to do so. But you know, a lot of places you go and you see the robot and these are first interaction with it, and you want that to be a good interaction and a good experience.Amber:
I know a really hot topic right now is wins in staff efficiency, and how can we look to robotics as a solution to solve some of the staffing challenges? Can you talk a little bit about what you've seen out there in senior living communities from this perspective?Doug:
Yeah. Well, when we are successful, we tend to see two different effects. One initial thing we've seen a lot is when places are understaffed and people are just having to provide patchwork coverage, we see an immediate impact. When, when things are going well, we see an immediate drop in overtime spending because we tend to find that they need less coverage to cover every single shift so they can start to spread out their labor a little more evenly. And that's the kind of initial effect we, we search for, especially if we just find staff being really overwhelmed. The next thing is just kind of the more intelligent placing of staff. We, we like to think that, you know, if you're understaffed and you're constantly looking for that next person, that maybe if se comes on board , that next person isn't needed. And so instead of, we're not really getting rid of anyone, but maybe just lessening the need for the next person, still, we, we still will find places that still are understaffed, but maybe we're just taking some of the stress out of the room. But I think initially it's gonna be the, the overtime is a , a kind of good indicator that we're having a good effect . But from there, it's more the, the trust that the robot is gonna be helpful. Hey, maybe we can staff one less person during lunchtime because we know the workflow is less and we can reprioritize that person to breakfast or dinner. We also find that the thing that is less tangible, and it happens on both sides, it's the stress we take out of the room for the staff, where it's like they just don't have to do so much running around. We're we're taking some burden off of their bodies and we're taking some stress off of their minds, but also the impact we have on quality of service for the residents. So, you know, one of the things that's really hard to measure is that like, Hey, we know that we're saving money on labor. That's awesome. You know, and that's an efficiency where it's very tangible. But what is the effect we're having on the residents daily life? And are we impacting meal time ? Which is a huge time for a lot of people when it's like they're out of the rooms, they , they get to engage and socialize. We want that time to be a good experience because that, you know , that really trickles into the rest of their day and the rest of their life. So sometimes the less tangible thing is, the thing that we, we find has the bigger impact is like, people are happier both on the staff side and the residents side, and there's less stress and, you know, there's, there's less complaining from, from both the recipients and the workers. That's where we're trying to get, But there takes trust to get to that point. And it takes the trusting the robot's gonna do its job, that management feels okay with reprioritizing, staffing, things like that. But when it happens, it's really beautiful because there's a financial impact, there's a , you know, this mental impact on everyone. And that's, that's our goal.Amber:
Did you say it's name is Servi ?Doug:
Servi is the robot's name, but we find that almost everywhere, and we encourage it that everyone names their robot. So cervi is our name for the robot, but one of the first things we do when we get on site is say, you know, survey's part of your team now we want, you know, make it, humanize it a little bit. Make it actually part of your team. So we'll see. Sometimes staffs will have contests to name it . A lot of times residents will be involved in naming it, but we see a lot of, you know, Ros and, you know, old references from, you know , uh, things like the Jetsons and things like that. But we've , um, we see a lot of creativity and naming. We really encourage it, you know, we want places to make it their own.Amber:
Yeah, actually that , I think I did have somebody tell me a story about how they had a contest to name the robot, and I don't remember what the name they came up with now .Doug:
That's , that's a very, very common situation.Amber:
Yeah. So tell me what the experience is like for a resident in the community if they're sitting down to a meal. What interaction, what's the experience like from their perspective with servi or whatever they decided to name it?Doug:
Well, you know, we used to think that kids would get the biggest kick out of the robot because it's just like, it , it can be really cool to see it in action for the first time, but by far, senior living is the place that like, I think residents are in the most of it because it's, it's actually the future happening before their eyes of going from, you know, seeing this ascent of technology to now seeing robotics in auto automation happening in the front of us. You know, we've had robots working behind the scenes in a lot of roles, but this is actually robots working in front of human beings. So the residents usually really enjoy it, and especially if service is getting better for them, it's, it's really tough to argue that, you know, why they wouldn't like it. It's really more times the staff that we need to have more convincing with when it turns in into their interaction with it. You know, sometimes we'll have a restaurant where at lunch they make it really busy and they may say , we're gonna have se pull up to a table directly. We, we always want a server to be the one handling the service side of things when the robot gets there. But, you know, a restaurant might say , we're gonna let the robot pull up and ask the guests to grab their own food. That's something that is hardly ever a situation. We, we have happening in a senior living environment where , you know, we're expecting a resident to be grabbing their own food or things like that. So in terms of what the robot's doing and interacting with them, it's pretty, it's pretty quiet. There's not a lot of direct engagement. I think having the robots sing happy birthday is one thing where it's actually something that's done directly to the guest and resident, But aside from that, you know, they're , they see these little robots zipping around their space, and hopefully they're seeing service get faster, and they're , and their front of house staff and servers being present more often and just having a general positive impact on service. So there's not a lot of direct interaction, but aside from seeing them cruising around and waiting for them to get by and navigating the space andavoiding, you know, running into anyone, but, so I think they're entertained by it, but they're never really having to directly engage with the robots.Amber:
So I know that robots and robotics is still a really new concept. There's still challenges and struggles to get even the basic food service robot into communities. But I'm curious, what is Bear Robotics looking at for the future? What do you see are the opportunities of what can be done once this becomes more common?Doug:
I think in the , in the near term, we're just, a lot of these leaps are made on the software side where it's like we have smoother operations, smarter navigation, we're advancing the technology with the existing robot. Then we have, you know, new models down the line where they're able to do more, whether it's, you know, se lift one of our new models that we're running in South Korea right now, it's a secure delivery robot that has enclosed doors. It can call an elevator electronically without touch, It can hop on, communicate with the elevator to what floor wants to go to get off, go to it's destination, ping the recipient with, you know, a phone call or a text or an alert, and then it provides them the opportunity to access the robot securely and then it can go back to its home and do it again. And it's able to travel across multiple floors of large buildings. That's one of the next things that we're gonna be debuting, ideally, hopefully before the end of the year and some, some test sites in the US and then more nationwide next year, we've also got higher capacity robots that are able to, you know, carry more, handle bigger obstacles. You know, I think down the line, we want absolutely being able to open doors on our own, get past small things like, you know, thresholds that normal wheels wouldn't be able to go or someday , you know, navigating stairs, going outside. But I think food service being the kind of thing that you want humans on the , on the end of, we're still trying to remain a tool for them. You know, we're not trying to turn this into a human looking Android, that's all a sudden walking out to the space and interacting because we're not trying to replace that human interaction. But I think in the near term, it's, you know, we're, we're just smoothing out the technology, making it function better. And then in the more long term we're, we're gaining, you know , new functionalities and the ability to interact with people directly. And, you know, if you're patrolling around a party, maybe you can make eye contact with you and, and can pause and, and take physical cues from you as to when you're ready to pass. And , but that's the evolution, the technology and those are things that we're working on every day . A lot of these things are very small and incremental, and over time you may not even notice as something is new. But you know, in over the course of six months, the robot is much smarter. It can and it can operate more effectively.Amber:
Is there any information you can share around the ROI and cost part of the robot?Doug:
Sure. One thing that's unique to senior living is that , you know, in a restaurant you have this tip component that it's not really defined, but we know it's there. And because of that, a lot of restaurants are , are able to pay their staff less because there's this other component. Now, there's certain states, like in California , tip server still gets $15 an hour. So it's, it's very easy to argue how a robot that maybe costs two to $4 an hour, if you don't have to hire another server, there's a lot of savings that you can, you can latch onto with just by not bringing that additional person on. Now in senior living , you know, there's rarely is there a tip environment where you're able to, let's say in Wisconsin, you can pay a server 2 33 an hour. That's not something that's happening in senior living. We tend to see between 15 and $20 an hour starting for, for servers , uh, in front of house and senior living. And if you're looking at a robot that costs maybe , let's say a thousand dollars a month, you're looking at, you know, around 30 some dollars a day. You know, if it's working throughout the day, you're looking at a couple dollars an hour depending on how much they're working. And you're also not limited by things like overtime or sick days. And so, you know, we look at it as like, you're getting this tool. You know, you look at like the dishwasher when the au the automatic dishwasher was put into the kitchen, it didn't replace the dishwasher, it made their job easier. But you're getting this tool that's extremely reliable is that, you know , it works 12 hours a day every day. It's always there. It doesn't call in sick, and it does so at the fraction of a cost of a human being. So if it removes the need for that additional body that you might be paying $20 an hour and you're coming in looking at paying it $3 an hour just broken down based off its monthly costs , then we're immediately showing labor savings. But then, you know, I pivot back to what I said earlier about the effect it has on quality of service and de-stressing an environment. Those are the other things that are, they're hard to measure with numerically, but they also have an equal importance in , in the value it provides on the floor. But I mean, just as a cost comparison, you're looking at a fraction on the cost of what it would take to bring on a new employee, and then also to train them and to replace them and to go through that process over and over. And we do find that, you know, when the robot is in place and it's having a good impact and people like it, we find turnover is reduced. We find that, you know, you're not having to go through those struggle much because people's jobs are easier and their , their environment's better. So we see a financial impact, but we also see that emotional, you know , stress reducing impact that I think is just as important.Amber:
Doug, is there anything else you would like our listeners to know before we wrap up?Doug:
I mean, on the resident side, I think it's more, it's more exciting because I think when it, when they get that experience to see the robot in , in action, it's not intimidating. It's a , it's pretty innocuous. They, they tend to quickly find out that this is , uh, a technology that's serving a purpose to make their lives better. But for anyone that's on the receiving end potentially of working alongside one or thinking about bringing one into their facility, I, I think it's important to suspend judgment and to give it a chance because the environment and industry that we're all operating in is, is for forever altered. And there is so much stress out there of trying to fill these roles. And food service, I , in its nature, is very stressful. And this is a tool that can really help people, and it can help people's stress, It can help just the burdens that we can take off of their hands. I really encourage people, even if they're, they're not necessarily thinking about bringing it on board , but to at least open their minds to the thoughts of automation and robotics and how they can have impacts. Because we're, we're trying to take away some of these repetitive kind of menial tasks and let people focus on high value work. And, and that is really our goal. It's not a replacement. We just want people to know that, you know, we're, we're , we're trying to provide a solution that's really meant to help.Amber:
This is such a great topic. Thank you so much for joining us today and sharing all this information. I think it's something our listeners will really enjoy diving into a little bit more.Doug:
Yeah. Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.Amber:
Thank you to everyone for joining us for this month's episode. You can find us online at our website, parasolalliance.com. Feel free to reach out if you have a topic you'd like to see or you'd like to be featured on a feature episode. And thank you for listening.
In this episode of Raising Tech, our host Amber Bardon sits down with Doug Lane at Bear Robotics to talk about the power of robotics in senior living food service and hospitality.
Learn how senior living communities are improving the resident and staff food service experience while creating efficiencies, reducing costs, and optimizing the human elements of hospitality.
Bear Robotics sets a new standard in robotics by empowering incredible dining experiences. This means they're committed to bridging better connections between servers and diners while building on the technology that makes it possible. By engineering better solutions, they’re eliminating the obstacles that stand in the way of excellent service while setting the pace for technological progress.
Raising Tech is powered by Parasol Alliance, The Strategic Planning & Full-Service IT Partner exclusively serving Senior Living Communities.
Welcome to Raising Tech, a podcast about all things technology and senior living. I’m your host, Patrick Leonard. Today we have Michelle Maalouf and Sarah Cannon from Activated Insights. Welcome to the show.
Thanks so much for having us.
Absolutely. Michelle and Sarah , before we get started, can you introduce yourselves a little bit, your roles and one of you tell us a little bit about who Activated Insights are and at a high level, what solutions you provide to the senior living industry to kind of set the stage for audience today.
Sure , I can get started. I’m Sarah Cannon , I’m part of the solutions team for Activated Insights. Activated Insights is an employee resident data platform designed exclusively for senior living in post-acute organizations. A little background on me , I’ve worked in the industry for the last 10 years as a benefits advisor and on the technology solution side. But really I was raised in the industry similar to you actually Patrick, my mom has worked in skilled nursing facilities my entire life, so I’m very passionate about the work that we do here.
Hey Patrick, I’m Michelle Maalouf. So excited to be part of this podcast as I’ve always believed in using technology as a way to improve people’s lives. My background is actually that I was a founding member of Aging 2.0, which was, which is an innovation network and I’ve also worked with over 20 companies in the aging space and I’m currently on the solutions team at Activated Insights with Sarah and I also lead our marketing efforts. And I also just wanted to add in that in addition to the employee and resident data platforms that Sarah mentioned, we are most known for being the Aging Services division for a great place to work and also have a brand new partnership with the US News and World Report. We actually administer the surveys for these recognition opportunities and provide the data to our partners. Our program managers are amazing. Plus I also wanted to share that we recently won the Inc 5,000 fastest growing private companies in America. And with that we just celebrated our five year anniversary too as a company. So that’s all been super exciting lately and we love all the recognition.
Yeah, lots to celebrate.
That’s awesome. Thanks for sharing that both of you. And it’s great to see you all be recognized as well. So kudos to you .
Yeah, we finally get to feel what our customers feel.
<laugh> . I love it. Well deserved. So you set the stage a little bit about the two topics for today. One being the employee and resident engagement side and and the software solution that you all offer. But I really wanted to dive a little bit deeper first into the Great Place to work in US News, best Senior Living recognitions that you all some might say best known for, or at least you know , historically. Can you tell me a little bit more about those recognition programs and how organizations get certified and how do they get recognized and what the process looks like?
Yes, of course. Thanks Patrick for asking. Yeah, like you said, you know, we’re really proud of our national recognition options and our whole goal is to really uplift the industry. The Great Place to Work certification is when , organizations can certify when at least 65% of their employees say that they’re a great place to work. It’s a really simple process. They do this by having employees answer a five minute survey. That survey is sent via text message or email. This applies to almost all senior living and senior care organizations. It’s also exciting that we’re no longer lumped together with healthcare, but we’re seen as our own industry. And if you certify for as a great Place to Work, you are also able to contend for Fortune’s Best Workplaces in Aging Services, which is a list that’s announced annually. So those recognition options are awesome. And then, you know, getting that feedback back from your employees is really helpful too for different teams in our industry. And then for US news, we’re now in the second year, we use family and resident survey data to formulate the best senior living methodology criteria with US News communities must have at least a 55% participation rate in order to be evaluated by US News. The Resident Family Survey season is a little bit more involved just in the sense that our program managers work with communities to host a survey event or something to inspire more participation from residents and families. But it’s an easy and straightforward process whether you’re interested in Great Place to Work or US News Best in your Living, just in a nutshell, to wrap it up, the process looks like you just sign up on our website, pay the administration fee, and then you can kick off with your activated Insights program manager. They’ll build a custom timeline for the process. And then the survey is live for two weeks. And the best part is that since it’s a fully digital process, our clients can see their status at any point in time in the pla on the platform and immediately after their survey closes. So that’s a little bit about the process. It’s, it’s very , um, easy, affordable way to get recognition and get data insights from your customers and your employees.
Wow, that’s great. Thanks for sharing that. It sounds very straightforward and simple, but also really in depth and helpful. As far as the process goes. Just out of curiosity, how many organizations are typically going through, whether you say apply or going through the certification process for these recognitions in a given year?
That’s a great question. So we’ve actually surveyed over 6,000 locations just in the senior cares senior living world.
We, we survey over 1 million people annually, actually.
Wow, that’s amazing. And you know that, that’s gonna tie in before I get ahead of myself, that’s gonna tie into some other items that just popped into my head that I’m curious about, but I’ll , I’ll put that on pause for a second and come and come back to that later. Cause I wanna dive into kind of the analytics, the insights that you all are driving. But before I get ahead of myself, can you talk to me a little bit more about the employee and resident engagement side? That’s always a hot topic in most industries, but particularly in severe living and particularly right now , um, with what’s happened over the last couple years. Can you talk to me a little bit more specifically about how communities are leveraging your tools to increase retention both from a staff and a resident perspective?
Sure. So you know, there it’s kind of unique working with us because there’s two sides to working with us. So there’s the recognition opportunities that Michelle just discussed and then there’s our full data platform. So as far as the recognition through Great Place to Work, that’s not only leading to a 20% increase on average in applications, but it’s a huge recruiting tool, especially for millennials. So these communities that are certified as a great place to work are able to say that they’re a great place to work just like a company outside of our industry that they’re probably competing with for employees. And then on the US News best senior living side. So as Michelle mentioned, that program is brand new, but communities are already seeing an increase in social media and website traffic increased tours and move-in conversions and you know, people know and trust us news. So that’s, that goes a long way. But as far as retention on the residents side through these programs, we’re hearing amazing feedback for those who’ve earned best senior living recognition about how current residents and their families feel they made the right choice and they’re proud that they live in a best senior living community. So that’s the recognition side. And then , um, as far as the data platform on the employee side, we’re really working with hr, so CHROs, VPs of hr , uh, directors of HR and talent acquisition at the community level. And that data and feedback from the ongoing employee surveys is really helping give the employees a voice within their communities. And that’s a huge driver for retention. The data insights in the platform give the organizations , uh, a holistic view, but what it does best is point out issues that are siloed usually to specific communities or even as granular as specific departments within a community. So once you’re able to pinpoint where to focus, you can pick it , like begin to make changes. And you know, as far as creating culture that’s, you know, not just a buzzword that everyone’s saying lately, employees are really looking for a culture where they wanna show up, they can be themselves and they feel like their voice is heard. So that platform really allows that open communication loop between leadership and then the employees. And you know, as far as the resident side goes through the data platform we work with, it’s more varied who we work with in the organizations. So from operations leaders, customer experience leaders, maybe resident engagement at the community level, sometimes even marketing, but same thing, you know, making sure to gain feedback at crucial points of their resident experience helps to give the residents a voice and it can even help communities to stem potential move outs. And so the way that you’re able to retain residents is making them a part of their experience in their community.
Great. Thanks for sharing that Sarah. And so it kind of ties back into my, you know, previous question I hit pause on earlier. So you’re , you’re getting so much feedback and so much data from, as you mentioned, over a million people throughout the year. I imagine that is between employees and residents combined. With all these insights that you’re getting at the communities, what happens with this data? What are you learning? What are some of the current trends as it relates to the industry from both our resident and employee perspective? And I’m curious on top of that in particular, are we seeing any positive trends? <laugh> , we , we’d all love to hear if there are any positive trends or relief coming out of covid and some of the daunting trends I’m sure you saw during that time. Is there any light you can shed on that, any useful data , um, and trends that you can share with the listeners today as it relates to anything from a resident or employee perspective?
Yeah, absolutely. We love to share our data. Um, I would say that we have one of the largest data sets in the industry and as far as your question on what we do with the data, we do build that into benchmarks. So any organization and community that works with us can, you know, see how they stack up or compare themselves against other similar levels of care within the industry. So we are updating those constantly. As far as insights you, you know, hit the nail on the head, we all need some positive news in this industry. After <laugh> , everything that we’ve gone through over the last couple of years, I can start by sharing some insights on the employee side as far as pulling that data. The trends that we’re seeing are that , um, employees are asking for more. So they’re asking for, you know, career pathing and cross-training employees are looking to understand what their future may look like and if there are advancement opportunities in longevity , um, in their position or in the company that they’re working with. Our industry’s really far behind when it comes to promoting from within. So senior care operators only promote about 17% from within and that’s compared to competitors and hospitals who are promoting 46% internally retail 31% internally and hotel hotels 30%. So what we’re able to do with this is see that it’s a good thing that employees are asking for more because it means they’re trying to find a path to stay then grow within the organization. We’re also seeing, I would say the most popular trend right now is employees asking for more work life balance. So wanting to break away from that traditional eight or 12 hour shift and have more flexibility within their schedules. And you know, the good news , um, that you were asking for is , well burnout skyrocketed during the pandemic and the employee trust index scores, which is how um, great place to work analyzes or measures happiness through employees that drop significantly in 2020. And 2021. Scores have been trending upward for 2022. So employees are happier than they were two years ago. And Michelle, did you have some , um, resident data you wanted to share?
Yeah. Awesome. Thanks Sarah and Patrick for the question. I’ll touch on the resident family side. So you know, just like with any other industry, you’ll always be sure to hear from unhappy customers, but from our latest survey data with half a million residents and family members, we see that actually 65% of independent living residents and 63% of assisted living residents agree or strong strongly agree that they’re satisfied with their senior living community value. Really only 3% of i l and al strongly disagree about their satisfaction. So we’re excited to see that for our industry. And to sum it up, two out of three residents are really satisfied with the value they’re receiving for what they’re paying. And nearly 90% of residents rate their community as good or better, which is really cool. Um, we survey responsible parties or family members , um, depending on the level of care of their resident and we’re seeing that 83 to 89% of family members are rating their loved ones communities as good or excellent. A lot of times when we’re beginning the process of starting survey here from organizations that they’re unsure if the residents will be able to take an online survey that residents aren’t comfortable with technology. You know, from our recent data we collected how residents actually took the survey in their first year working with us. For US news, 36% of residents were taking the survey either on a tablet or mobile device and then the rest were taking it on a computer. So we were excited to see that also, you know, to show that older adults are using technology are using personal devices to take those surveys. A couple other stats that touches on the Covid response, more than three quarters of residents are reporting that they hardly ever feel isolated and 85% say that they’re not very lonely. That’s really great news. Residents are overwhelmingly feeling grateful and safe and it’s just a really special number, especially since Covid .
That’s amazing. Thanks Michelle. Thanks Sarah . Particularly some of those last stats you shared Michelle are really eye opening . I think for me, someone who’s been in the industry for a long time who constantly gets the perspective from people who haven’t been in the industry and may have particularly after covid some negative connotations about the industry and the, and the overall happiness and satisfaction from residents and their family members. So it’s really cool and encouraging for me know , knowing that it’s helping and impacting so many lives, this service and these this industry. But those staff that you just share just validate that and even getting through the hardest times that this world and industry arguably have ever seen, that those, those satisfaction numbers and engagement numbers are really cool. And I really hope our listeners pass that along to all those non-believers out there because that’s amazing.
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah, we completely agree. Yeah , it’s awesome to see and you know, we’re just happy that there are no residents with the communities we’re working with , um, are really satisfied with the services they’re receiving and that, you know, these providers really care about making a difference and if there is any feedback that they receive, you know, they make those changes immediately.
That’s what I was gonna say. Um, it’s been amazing to see how creative and, you know, out of the box the providers have been over the last two years and the data showing that, you know, it , it’s, it’s clear that what they did was was working. You know, it’s just, it , I just always wanna commend their hard work, especially over the last two years and it’s nice that the data can back that up, that what these, you know, things that they were putting in place are working.
Yeah, absolutely. Now talk to me a little bit about the practical implementation of these programs. What does it look like when someone does partner with you? Are you seeing any cool success stories about how communities are actually taking that feedback and actually using it to make thoughtful improvements?
Sure, I can take that one. So , uh, that’s a great question because almost immediately in the first few minutes of talking to somebody that’s looking at either, you know, working with us on the platform or through the recognition programs, it’s, you know, what resources do I need to allocate? How long is this gonna take to get this platform up? And I’m happy to share that it’s very quick <laugh> because we typically start working with somebody because they want to do the recognition pieces. So US News and or a great place to work, we’re starting by working with somebody at corporate cause it’s really important to have buy-in on initiatives like these from leadership. But as far as setting up the survey goes , um, they work with a dedicated program manager and , um, the program manager is working with them on the front end to get the survey set up and sent out and that great place to work or US News survey becomes the baseline for the data and for their action plans and next steps. So once that survey closes and the survey’s open for two weeks , the program manager works with them, but the platform’s already set up so there’s no, you know, long implementation timeline or anything like that because it’s set up on the front end before the surveys ever go out. And so again, once the survey’s closed , the program manager works with the survey, whoever’s , uh, you know, our main point of contact to roll out that data to the teams. So what they’re able to do is each community within an organization has a customized dashboard and they’re able to really turn the feedback from their, you know, their specific feedback for that community into actionable next steps. We even have action plans , um, within the system that based on the data from the communities , individual communities, you know, responses, whether we’re surveying the residents and families or the employees, the system’s going to suggest or recommend what action plans and where they should focus and then build in , um, suggestions of action plans. So the program manager’s really working closely with them, they’re an extension of their team to help roll out that data and help them with adopting the platform. You know, we always suggest adding leadership eds administrators and then department heads as well and we can set up specific views so you can just see your department’s data, things like that. But again, I , we can’t say enough about our program managers. They’re such an asset and a differentiator with the platform because they’re really working with you to help roll out that data. But all that being said, the entire process to get a survey set up and sent out as four to six weeks , um, and a lot of times that includes the two weeks that the survey’s live. And then we will continue to work with the providers on additional surveys based on that feedback. You know, if there’s, again, some of these siloed departments or communities that need more focus, we can build customized surveys around that so we can pinpoint, you know, there’s analyzing what is wrong, but then you have to put steps in place to fix it. And our system and the program managers really help to do
That. That’s awesome. Yeah, I mean the , the data, just capturing the data alone is powerful from what you’ve shared, but knowing that there’s actionable next steps and recommendations to pair along with that based on the data and the findings that are kind of customized to your community and your needs is amazing. So thanks for sharing that.
So that makes me of another question. Speaking of questions that are in these surveys, who comes up with them ?
Yep , great question Patrick. So I’ll touch on both surveys that we have. The Great Place to Work employee survey, that one’s actually based on 30 years of research. It’s based on the Trust index model. And that model includes pride, credibility, fairness, respect and camaraderie . And Great Place to Work is the global authority on workplace culture. And it’s actually the most widely taken employee engagement survey in the world. So employees in our industry are getting the same exact questions as other industries for an apples to apples comparison, like what Sarah mentioned earlier about being able to be competitive in your markets . For the US News resident survey, we actually ask questions about all departments within senior living and calculate a customer customer engagement score. One really interesting and useful part of the survey includes the loneliness score , um, for residents that I mentioned the results for earlier. As we know, loneliness is extremely detrimental to our health, but in our survey we’re using best practice research back approach for measuring loneliness. It’s a three questions from the UCLA three Question Loneliness Scale , which is an international research back standard index for measuring loneliness. Another thing we’ve done for the US News resident surveys is we’ve put together a group of CEOs to weigh in on the development of the resident survey and the US News Fest in your living methodology process. So we’re definitely including our industry in that. And then then as Sarah mentioned, we do some custom surveys and pulse surveys as needed with certain customers.
Yeah, I wanted to, to add to that UCLA loneliness study that we have as part of our resident survey. It’s really invaluable and understandably a lot of people, most people are so focused on doing well enough to earn, you know, the recognition. But we have heard incredible stories of how people have taken that, the data and the results from the u ucla , um, loneliness report that they get at the end of the survey and really enlisted their life enrichment or activities teams to reach out to those residents that are saying that, you know, they’re lonely and they would like to reach out to somebody, you know, meeting them when they’re at, where they’re at, working with people who might be a little more introverted and helping to engage them into the communities better. And I mean, I could share hundreds of stories of how people have used that rapport and I just wanted to touch on that because again, it , I think it gets lost because the focus is so much on , um, that US news recognition lately.
Great. Yeah, thanks for clarifying. That’s, that’s fantastic and really helpful. You all have done so much work, particularly over the last five years, you’ve come so far, but where are things going next?
Activated insights? We work with about 45% of the market and we have customers in every single state. So our number one focus is always staying on top of state compliance. That’s extremely important and it’s a continuous effort. Um, our surveys are core queue compliant and it sounds like , um, that could be mandated sooner rather than later. So we’ve already, you know, baked that in the compliance into our surveys and in anticipation for that, our product team has always done an incredible job of listening to feedback about what tools are going to help providers the most. And we’re always gonna continue to do that. We’re also seen as a partner to the industry and the trade organizations and that allows us to keep a pulse on how our platforms data and analytics can help organizations with improving their efficiencies. That said, we have a major focus this next year in specifying the tools within the platform even more. The best example I have of this is we launched our , um, admission and discharge surveys this year and that was solely based on demand from , um, the customers that we already work with. So always listening , um, understanding, you know, being agile enough to move with the industry with all of the changes and, you know, have our product team work to, to build products that are gonna be a , the best fit for the industry providers.
Great. Thanks for that, Sarah. We’ve heard a lot of good information today. I think our listeners are gonna find us so extremely helpful. I know I personally learned a lot before we kind of wrap up for today, Sarah, Michelle either you bet any, any final thoughts or words of wisdom, if you will, for our listeners before we part ways today.
Thank you so much, Patrick, for having us on today. Um, we also really enjoy sharing what we do on a daily basis and appreciate that you taking the time to highlight this innovation in our space. I did wanna leave these deadlines with the audience today. The 2082 Fortune Best Workplaces and Aging Services actually just came out, so you should have a look at it. If, if anyone , um, is interested in contending for 2023, we’re surveying now through the end of Q1 2023 . So you can sign up right from our website, activatedinsights .com and survey spots are first come , first surveys, and then for us news best in your living resin surveys. Um, you can now get your dates locked in for year three, so you should definitely reach out to us to get started again at that website. And again, thank you so much for having us. This has been really enjoyable.
Yeah, thanks so much, Patrick.
Awesome. No, thank you. Thank you both. Can’t thank you enough for being here today and for all your insights, no pun intended. I hope to see both of you out and about, whether it be on Zoom or hopefully in an event Zoom so we can catch up even more. Listeners, thank you for tuning into this episode of Raising Tech . We’ll see you next time for some fresh technology insights. If you wanna be on the show or have any topics you wanna hear about, please visit our website at parasolalliance .com and reach out. Have a good one.
In this episode of Raising Tech, our host Patrick Leonard sits down with Michelle Maalouf and Sarah Cannon at Activated Insights to talk about the power of data and recognition in building your community’s brand.
Learn more about the “Great Place To Work” and “U.S. News Best Senior Living” recognition programs, and how to effectively listen and engage your employees and residents alike to build your brand and take action in differentiating your senior living community.
Activated Insights helps senior care providers collect feedback from their employees and residents to improve and build their brand – from the inside out.
Raising Tech is powered by Parasol Alliance, The Strategic Planning & Full-Service IT Partner exclusively serving Senior Living Communities.
Welcome to Raising Tech, a podcast about all things, technology in senior living. I'm your host Patrick Leonard. Today. We have Marc Tumminello and Corey DeGeorge from Heart Legacy. Welcome to the show.Corey:
Hello. Thank you,Patrick:
Mark and Corey, before we get started, can you kind of introduce yourselves, your roles? And if one of you don't mind, I'd love to hear a little bit about how and why Heart Legacy was founded.Corey:
Sure. So my name is Corey George . I'm the VP of product and services at Heart Legacy. I have an extensive background in healthcare IT and business intelligence and patents related to healthcare communications and video communications, which is essentially what Heart Legacy is doing and what we're helping our clients do. Video communications is it's just such an effective and emotional and powerful method to communicate in senior living, especially. So I'm really glad to be here to talk about it today.Marc:
And I'm Marc Tumminello, director of sales over at Heart Legacy. And my background actually was restaurants. In the beginning I was ,, owner of restaurants in Pasadena and I am from Pasadena, California, but I live in mobile, Alabama. So there's a big change for me my entire life in Pasadena in 2007 , I moved to mobile for work and really it's sort of an offshoot of heart legacy actually. So I love it and love being here. So if you don't mind, Patrick, just a little background on heart legacy, sort of how we got here and who we are. So in 2015 , Walt Armentrout, who was our CEO, he and Fran Smith are the two that are co-founded heart legacy. And really, it was , the strangest thing for Walt. He had a really good friend and his friend was diagnosed with terminal cancer. And ironically his daughter was just got pregnant and boom, you know, he was never going to see his grandchild and it really resonated with Walt, you know, geez , what can we do here? Let's do something. So really that's sort of where the legacy messages from heart legacy, that's where they came from, that's where it was born. So, you know, they took pictures, videos, you know, sat down and talked to him about his life, you know, from beginning to having the kids to everything. And they just absolutely loved it. And Walt sort of did his own little editing of it and put really this cool little montage of this man's life. And that's how it started. You know, Walt was a , and Fran , they were a two man band at the time and they just literally got out in the car, got on the streets and started going to senior living communities to see if this would resonate with those groups. And it actually did it in fact resonated a lot. And then after some time, the interesting thing about heart legacy, they , we had to pivot a little because some of the CEOs, when those invoices were coming in, it just didn't, there was no ROI. So it really didn't resonate too well with them. So, you know, and, and they started asking now what , you know, you're doing these legacy messages for our residents. You know, we're having a big Cinco de Mayo party . We're having a huge Christmas celebration. Can you capture some content? And can you create some great videos there? And that's how our marketing arm came apart, which is really sort of the red side of part legacy . That's really where the ROI started coming from, posted it to social media put it on their live website, send it to families, put it in the screens inside the community. So when people are taking tours, they could see the great things that were happening out there or inside those walls. So so that's how heart legacy got started.Patrick:
Awesome. Thanks for that background. I love, love hearing a good founding story and kind of the passion and the experiences that lead people to, to take the jump, to start their own company. And particularly in this space, as someone who grew up in senior living, I always love hearing how it's, how it's impacted each individual life and how they're trying to go and impact more lives. So thanks for providing that background, marc. Cory, thanks for the introduction. I know Marc and I have met and, and hung out at different conferences and events before. And so I knew a little bit about him, but it's amazing. And we kind of joked about it before we started the recording, but you know, your introduction to me was a heart legacy video that I got over email and just that small clip that I watched and listened to before we got on the call today, I had already felt like we had some bit of an introduction and connection to a certain extent and something to start a starting point to build off. So thanks for more introduction on your end and, and , and I'm happy to learn more about you here as well, but that's a little bit a background about the founding story. And you touched on a little bit about the different solutions and use cases and particularly about how you adapted. It sounds like the company adapted at an early stage by listening to the customers. Can you talk a little bit more from a high level and maybe a little bit more specifically about your different solutions at heart legacy for maybe some of our listeners who aren't as familiar? What are the solutions and the, the typical use cases you see at the senior living communities?Corey:
Sure. So heart legacy provides two video solutions for our clients, and they're both designed to be as simple and fast and easy to use as possible because we want our clients, employees to be able to do their core jobs and not spend a whole bunch of time on the video side. So we handle all of that stuff for marketing. We have a professionally edited marketing video solution where employees in the communities take photos, video footage of the communities of staff members, family members, residents, whatever they want. And that content comes to our video editing team and our video editors take the very best pieces of that content and put it together into a really beautiful marketing video that tells a story and elicits some motion . And it's of course, branded for the community and everything. And clients share these videos, they'll put them on their website or on their social media sites. And then the other app, which has been wildly popular is sales mail. And that's what I sent a message to you with before we actually met. So now you understand kind of how it works. And actually when I first started at heart legacy, one of the employees sent me a sales mail to welcome me to the team. And that's the moment I knew the impact that the video can have is just a simple video message, but it really makes people feel good. Anyway, sales, mail, sales directors, activity directors, EDS, HR, corporate regional leaders. They use sales mail to send personalized branded video messages. And these are sent through their own email account or through text message, or they can post them on social. And it is used to build trust and deepen relationships with the people that they're reaching out to. Basically we have a mobile app or a desktop app. They use to record a quick video message. And we take that video and create an animated preview that can easily be shared. And that video is presented in a branded template. So the community logos up on top, it uses the community colors. The user's contact information is on the bottom. There are lots of ways to engage with the video. So there can be custom call to action buttons, emoji reactions, comments, transcripts, for people who are hard of hearing. So lots of different ways to interact with these videos. The cool thing is when somebody watches a video, our users actually get a push notification on their phone. So they know that somebody just watched it and they kind of know where when they have a really hot lead.Patrick:
Awesome. Thanks for providing that overview. I think that's really helpful. So it sounds like a lot of different people in the community. It's not really just necessarily the sales, our marketing folks at the community level who are using it . It's a variety of different people and use cases at the community level that can all benefit from this. For example, you know, you mentioned your own experience in the recruiting or in the hiring process. If you will, you received a video of your own, are people using it? Not only to address the occupancy side of things, but it sounds like maybe even the staffing side of things as well. Can you expand on that a little bit?Corey:
Sure. So absolutely sales mail is being used for staffing and recruiting. There's obviously a huge problem with staff turnover in senior living. It , it is obviously a lot of markets are having trouble with it, but in , in senior living part, part of my role is over operations. So we have a client success team and they are constantly onboarding new employees for our clients, getting them trained and using video. And it's constant constant. So not only is sales mail used to help with recruiting, but also with staff retention, which is really the smarter and most financially sound way to , to thing to focus on. There is actually one CEO at a large senior living organization. And this guy is on sales mail almost every single day, including weekends. And what he's doing is he is recording birthday messages, work anniversary messages, and new employee messages for everybody in that organization. And I don't expect every CEO to do that, but I will tell you, it has a powerful impact on that staff. And he, you can see it in, you know, they've done a , um, one of our professionally edited videos about their culture and they have all of their staff members talking about working there and you can see the impact it has from this culture he's created by making people feel valued. So that's really important. And any leader in the organization can use sales mail to send, shout out messages and recognize people and keep them engaged. And then as far as recruiting goes, it's such a competition to get people hired these days. It is hard to get people to show up for an interview. And so the community or the organization has to really stand out and they can't stand out too much if they're just posting jobs on a job board. But when you start using video, you can really start attracting attention. So if you do those staff testimonial videos, people can hear what it's like to work at a place and get interested and be interested in interviewing. And then of course, when the HR leaders can use sales mail throughout the hiring process and help them continue to stand out. And for example, one thing people are having a hard time is getting people to show up for interviews so they can send a pre-interview reminder video so they can kind of see who they're gonna talk to feel comfortable. They can tell them where to park or just tell them whatever they need to, to be comfortable with showing up. And that makes that candidate more likely to actually show up for the interview or if they can't make it at least let them know. And then also HR leaders can use sales mail after the hiring process to reinforce that person's decision to work with that organization or that community and make them feel good about that. Lots of use cases related to staffing and recruiting.Patrick:
I love that. Thanks for, thanks for diving deep on that and sharing that story, particularly from that CEO. I think those, those type of stories just put a smile on my face and I think they're so, so powerful and useful to really understand, and for people to get ideas of, of how to implement this and to get creative with it in different ways and capacities within their community . So thanks for sharing that. That's awesome. I imagine it's pretty similar experience for prospective resident when they're still in the sales and marketing side, but then again, I could see also how there could be a little bit more hesitation around sending that video or being the prospective resident family member on the receiving end of it without having , having met you, or maybe placing a 10 minute phone call to get some more information or to set up a tour. Tell me a little bit about, you know, what I thought of as the primary use case in the sales and marketing process, although it makes the most sense. It also seems like there , there could be some hesitation from the staff to either do it, or maybe from some hesitation from someone who's a little more closed off the prospective resident or family member earlier on in the process. Can you talk to me a little bit about both those kind of use cases and how you see your clients and their perspective residents overcoming that, or if they're overcoming that.Corey:
So with employees, some people will be more nervous about recording a video for the first time. I know when I first joined heart legacy, I didn't have a lot of experience in video and it was, it was weird. <laugh> felt really weird. I didn't really wanna record myself <laugh> but the cool thing is once people start doing it, it gets really easy, really fast. You just kind of have to do it. And I've had so many people come back that were hesitant of having their corporate office come and say, Hey, you're gonna use this video solution. And , and they're like, you know , they maybe weren't really gung ho about it when they first heard about it, but then they started using it and they started seeing the reactions they got from prospects and family members. And then they come back and they use the term game changer . It changes the way that they sell and the way that they do their job . So I know prospects the way they react and the responses people get are really, really I'm smiling, you know, because it feels good to them to receive a personalized video that somebody spent time to record for them.Marc:
Yeah . You let me tag onto that just a little bit. I mean, there is such a thing as being camera shy, right? Just not being comfortable in front of the camera and we Corey's team has to deal with that on a regular basis. Right. Cause we check the usage. So, you know, we roll our solution out, but we are constantly looking at the data to ensure that the utilization is high, you know , well over 70% because we don't want them to pay for something that they're not gonna use. So the team sends sample messages to show them what super users are doing. And then they can go ahead and copy those instead of just sitting there going, I'm not quite sure what to do, you know, how , what kind of a video am I going to record? So it gives them some samples to work on. And instead of just having to come up with something on their own and a lot of the Shire folks out there, let's say they will record like a library, Patrick. So it's, we call it favorites, but it's a library. So they can go back and reuse that. And we're seeing a lot of that lately. Some of our meetings and or Corey send the data to us and a lot of people are forwarding those back out, reusing them. So that's great as well, right? As long as it gets to the recipient, the more visibility, the better for those people, right. They're gonna get more responses in a black and white email for sure.Corey:
And then Patrick, there's something we do in the implementation process to help people. So when we do a training session, our goal is as soon as that session's over, everybody's ready to use a video , um, and send a video and they do. So we have this certification program where they take this really quick quiz to reinforce that they learned everything they need, and then they send us a sample video. So that kind of pushes them to record that first video. And it , we get to look at it and make sure that everything looks perfect, that they sound great and that everything is good to go. And it just helps them kind of just do that first video once somebody does that first video, they they're good to go. They just do it a few more times. And then it becomes just a normal thing that they do in their sales cadence.Patrick:
That's great. Yeah, that was gonna be thanks for all that insight, because that was gonna be another one of my questions that as I'm thinking about this and it comes up, you know, any new technology requires some level of training, there's an implementation timeline and process for yours. It sounds super simple and easy, but also very, very thorough and a lot of training that goes along with it as well. So can you kind of just put a bow on that? I guess you were , you were already kind of diving in on the implementation training process, but what does that timeline look like and how quickly can people get up and, and running with this,Corey:
A lot of our implementations are with really large organizations with many communities. And with those, we'll do a partnership launch meeting and make sure that they have met the person that's gonna be their dedicated client success specialists. And that we've talked through all the success factors and figured out when we're gonna do the training. And , um, typically the training, I mean we get the training going as quickly as we can, after that order comes in. It doesn't take a lot of time for us to set up their product and customize our templates and all of that stuff. So large enterprises, we can get implemented and running within one or two weeks of their order. And then if it's just a smaller one community, for example, sometimes training happens the same day. So we're, we can move really quickly on the implementation process. And then I talked about training in the certification program to make sure that they know what they need to know and they record that first video. And from there, it's just, we are constantly monitoring the accounts, onboarding new employees because that turnover and making sure everybody is utilizing video in their job to meet their goals.Patrick:
Okay. So when you think of new technology implementation as well, another question that inevitably comes up is people want the data they want to , they wanna prove out the ROI of each technology spend. And so what are you seeing most people measuring? What data are they really after when they utilize your system? Is there a common kind of ROI proposition that you're help educating them or there self realizing at the community level or leadership level that, Hey, this is moving the needle in X, Y Z way.Marc:
Yeah. There is an ROI that's easy to , well , the data is super important, right? Everyone, you know this so well, everyone wants their data in one place, right? Hey, do you have an integration with this CRM? Do you have an integration there? That's asked every single time they wanna work out of one spot, not going to two or three, even though we have a dashboard , uh, they would prefer to have all that data living in their , uh, CRM system. Uh, and it's important to them because they are constantly looking at their census and all the KPIs and metrics that are behind it. So, you know, how many outbound calls are these directors of sales or CDRs making? How many sales mail videos are they sending out? How many views are they getting? What is the, are we moving the needle on tour to deposit or tour to close? Are we moving that needle? Are we helping move that needle? That's extremely important to them. And those are all that the ROIs that they look at to see if our tool is successful for them, you know, the other , uh, on the edited side, it's really the postings. And how many followers did we gain? We just posted, you know, seven videos in the month of August. And are we getting more followers? Are we getting more views off of those , uh, edited videos? Are we getting more calls into the communities asking about that specific community? So that's really what they're looking at. And really utilization is everything, you know, and it's, what's really great is they can actually do a champion champion challenger inside of a community. So they might pick three communities that are using sales mail and three communities that are not using in their , and that for 60 days they'll run that. And I will tell you, it tells a story very quickly. I'll give you the last results on one that we just saw the data on the three that did not use video, they did emails and calls only their growth was 0.05% , not even 1%. The other side that used video, they raised their percentage growth by 5%, 5% is huge. They were getting responses back left and white , so left and right, so that really helps all of the users say, Hey, wait a minute. It's proof in the pudding. Look, if this person , these CDRs or sales directors are getting great results, they're getting deposits. They're getting move-ins, they're getting families to call back on a regular basis. They're going back into the database of people that said, well, we're really not interested now. And they're sending them a sales mail, and those people are starting to call in. So that's really the strength of video in general, not just our solution, but video in general. And like you mentioned, it's really about being authentic, humanizing, putting a face to a name and setting yourself apart. And video can do that instead of a black and white email or even a phone call, to be honest, you know, they get that passion, that emotion and how professional that particular person sounds, and they get tethered to them. And that's, you know, that's when they're gonna do business with them.Corey:
So as far as sales KPIs go, I'll share some use cases and you'll kind of see how these impact ultimately occupancy lead to tour conversion. People are using sales mail and their auto responses. So if somebody submits a web form for information from a community, and there's an automated email that goes out to them rather than just sending some plain text boring email, they're embedding a sales mail video, maybe with the executive director, the sales director, or maybe even a group of people that are recording a quick little video, thanking people for inquiring, letting them know that somebody's gonna get in touch with them. And then adding some small, special thing about that community. That's gonna stick in their head and make them remember. Another use case is sending an introduction video that puts a face to the name. So when an inquiry comes in, what's the sales director gonna do, they're gonna get on the phone and call 'em right. And whether or not they actually reach the person on the phone, they should send that introduction message that follow up video that lets them, see the person, hear their voice, experience their personality, and start building that trust. And Patrick, you , you talked about it a bit at the beginning. Once you start seeing somebody on video, you become familiar with them . And sometimes especially if you see a video from them repeatedly, you start feeling like you know them. And that can go a long way in building a relationship with somebody who is looking for a , a home for their loved one, for example. So that introduction put a face to the name. Video is really, really important. And then once you get somebody to agree to come in for a tour, sending a pre-tour reminder video, that again, shows them who they're going to meet with, makes them feel comfortable. They know who they're going to talk to in the community. You can tell them where to park, how to get in the building mask protocol, whatever, and just continue to build that familiarity. And that comfort with that person. That's looking for a home for their loved one tour conversion can be impacted , impacted , um, through those sales mail use cases. And then once you , there's a tour tour to sale conversion can be impacted through what I think is one of the most important use cases for sales mail, for a sales director or an ed actually. And that's that postwar follow up video. And that's not, you know, some people might be inclined to send a thank you video and say, Hey, thank you so much for coming in. Let me know if you have questions and that that's not what I think people should be doing. I think in that post tour follow up video, that is the sales director's chance to show that they listened to the needs of that person. When they came in for the tour, let's say they found out that the, their mom was a swimmer and that water is important to her. They can do that post tour , follow up video outside by the pool when there are other residents doing a water exercise class or something, even have those residents wave into the camera while you're doing that post tour follow up video. And you can imagine what kind of emotional impact that has on the prospect in their family when they get a video like that versus another community, you know, maybe sending an email, thank you. It's just completely different and helps them stand apart from everybody else.Marc:
And one last thing I just wanted to throw out there on this subject, I mean, just in general, CRDs and sales directors, tell me another industry, where is, is there is no industry out there that's harder than senior living. You are not selling a car. You're not selling an insurance policy. You are asking these people to come move in and if the daughter or the son, they don't get along with you, they're not moving them in, right. It is a very, very, very tough sale. It's so emotional. And I think the reason that the successful sales people in senior living, they work in senior living because they love it. And there was probably some event in their life that got them into senior living. No one just wakes up and says, I'm gonna go work in senior living, right. It's seems to be an event for most people. And so that's a , a that emotion and that connection is everything. So , uh, kudos to them, by the way, I , I think they work their tails off and it's awesome. So , they deserve all the, the recognition they can get and , and our video really helps them in this tool and we see it day in and day out.Patrick:
I love just hearing Corey and then Marc you adding onto it kind of starting the use cases and the impact from start to finish really throughout the entire prospect journey and the ups and downs that their experience and the emotional roller coaster they're going through and the impact you can just, even if you've never used or heard of heart legacy until this episode, you can just see the power of , of video in what those follow ups would look like in the reaction you would have. And it really answers my earlier question earlier, much more clearly now of what does a resident feel like? Someone who's a little more guarded , a little more closed off when that video comes in and it's, it's powerful. It makes me never wanna send an email follow up or place another phone call follow up again. So thank you for all that insight side shared all those use cases. Obviously there are appropriate times for that, a nd I'm being a little facetious, but really it really helps illustrate the power of it at different points in t he sales process an d i n t o w hat you were mentioning ea rly a s well in t he recruitment and hiring and employee engagement process as well. So thank you for sharing all those stories. It makes it a lot more fun and easier to understand. Um , w hen you do that, I guess before we, we close things out, I, I, I just wa nna u nderstand, we've heard so many great things today, and clearly you all have accomplished so much for this industry, but is there, where are things heading next? Is there anything new and exciting on the horizon and any kind of final thoughts or, or w ords of wisdom for our listeners before we wrap up today,Corey:
I can't spill the beans on any future products or anything, but I would say that we're gonna continue to listen to the needs of our partners and senior living and deliver on those. That's what has worked for us thus far. And as far as final thoughts, I would say I'm , I'm plagiarizing here, but just do it. Use video, pick up the phone, get on a desktop version, whatever you've got record a video, use it in your job and make someone's day. It , it really can make a powerful impact. And once you start using it and seeing the reactions that you get , um, you will understand why you need to keep doing it.Marc:
Yeah . And I , what I'll say is this is my fifth year in senior living. So I'm not, you know, a , a tenured, tenured senior living guy. I was in the healthcare space for over 20 years and I've learned to absolutely love it. You know, I've been in communities a lot and Patrick, just us even meeting and all , you know, and the whole convention tours that we do , uh, great relationships there. And everyone in this industry cares. I mean, they, you can feel it that it's so passionate and, you know, you just in the conversations that we all have, and, and even in the way we, you know, go about introducing our product , uh, you know, it's not a lot of real hardcore sales people out there. They're just telling the story and how it works and how it's gonna help these residents themselves. And that's the common theme. And I love that because they care about these residents a lot. And I think it's awesome. So, and just like you, you and Amber doing this podcast, hopefully we can go widen deep and spread out the tentacles on this and get more people to listen. Because, you know, I , I'm sure that when people are listening to this, a lot of listen to the podcast in their car when they're driving, you know, and it resonates with them and they're gonna get great tips, right? The more nuggets they can get, the better off they're gonna be. Right. So kudos to both of you. So thank you.Patrick:
Thank you both so much. Couldn't agree more with your, your final thoughts there and sign off. And just the words in particular about this industry, both on the provider and the you know, the vendor partner side it , and it's something I think that's kept me around and in this industry and will continue for a long time. So mark and Corey can't, thank you guys enough for being on the show and for your insights. I learned something new. I already thought I knew a decent amount about you all, but I learned even more today. So thank you for that. And I know our listeners will too, whether that no matter what their level of familiarity is with you all and with heart legacy, I hope to see you both, either on video or out in the event circuit one way or the other listeners. Thank you for tuning into this episode of raising tech. We will see you next time with more fresh technology insights. If you wanna be on the show or have any ideas for topics or soon you live in trends that you want to hear about, please visit our website, parasolalliance .com and reach out .
In this episode of Raising Tech, our host Patrick Leonard sits down with Corey DeGeorge, VP of Product & Services, and Marc Tumminello, Director of Sales, at Heart Legacy.
Heart Legacy helps senior care organizations leverage video to generate leads, convert leads into new residents, and turn those residents into powerful referrals.
Learn how they leverage being the #1 rated video app in senior care, to allow senior living communities to quickly send beautifully-branded and personalized videos via email, text, and more.
Raising Tech is powered by Parasol Alliance, The Strategic Planning & Full-Service IT Partner exclusively serving Senior Living Communities.
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