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Voices: Patricia Toledo, who leads Product Innovation for MatrixCare Senior Living & Long-Term Care

This article is sponsored by MatrixCare. In this Voices interview, Senior Housing News sits down with Patricia Toledo, who leads Product Innovation for MatrixCare Senior Living & Long-Term Care, to explore the journey of the caregiver and how intelligent solutions can help put more time back in the hands of caregivers. She explains how technology can enable them to work more efficiently and spend more time with residents, and she highlights the impact of predictive analytics and machine learning for every stakeholder in the organization.

Senior Housing News: What career experiences do you most draw from, in your role today?

Patricia Toledo: For over 25 years, I’ve driven innovation across industries and regions through the use of cutting-edge technology. Innovating while improving outcomes for patients, residents, families, and caregivers is a significant highlight of my career so far. Providing better experiences for hundreds of thousands of caregivers is something that speaks to my heart.

I’m also motivated by the fundamental concept of ensuring that health care services and support are accessible and equitable, which influences each decision and interaction in my role today.

What do caregivers cite as the top non-care-related activities that consume most of their time?

Outside of providing direct patient care, caregivers spend a lot of their time documenting. A recent McKinsey study showed that caregivers spend 35% of their time documenting and another 15% on searching for information. These processes often take place at the end of the day instead of in real time, which can lead to inconsistencies.

In addition to documentation, caregivers are also heavily involved with all aspects of family communication. This includes a broad spectrum of conversations about medication, adverse health events, and diagnostic or behavior chains. It also entails fielding family inquiries regarding resident well-being and requests for other information about various aspects of the care journey. Neither are care-related activities, and they can be very time-consuming without a restricted window of time.

How can the right technology help streamline administrative tasks for caregivers?

The right technology can help reduce the administrative burden on caregivers by improving efficiency, especially as they respond to risk situations and provide real-time insights that inform care decisions. Some examples of technology that help augment care include mobile-based sensor technologies, voice-driven documentation tools, and ambient intelligence technologies that can understand and augment clinical activities to help nurses monitor residents virtually in real time.

All of these technologies can improve staff allocations by helping caregivers monitor more residents at once, empowering them to intervene in real time if, for example, a resident is at a high risk of a fall and attempts to get out of bed.

It’s important to highlight that the value-based payment (VBP) model will drive senior and long-term care (SLTC) providers to become more proactive in providing care. Proactive care is key to the prevention of adverse events and reduced costs. We can’t be successful under VBP without adopting technologies that enable proactive and preventative care.

How do intelligent scheduling and staffing solutions contribute to optimizing caregiver workloads and ensuring adequate attention to the residents who need it the most?

Multi-scheduling systems that can understand resident or patient acuity levels allow nursing managers to optimize staffing for individual units. This accommodates more significant health needs by enabling facilities to deploy the right staff member to the right patient, at the right time. It also ensures that caregivers share the load of higher and lower acuity cases to avoid burnout and better prevent lapses in care.

How can predictive analytics and machine learning assist caregivers in anticipating potential health issues, enabling proactive interventions, and improving overall health outcomes?

Predictive analytics and machine learning can help caregivers gain insights that are not obvious by querying large data sets. For example, if caregivers can perform pattern matching to more proactively inform care decisions, their time with each patient will be more efficient and effective, essentially giving them an extra set of hands. The beauty of this technology is that it can accurately predict adverse health events and intervene as needed. It will also likely have the ability to make actionable care recommendations in the near future, further increasing its impact on the front lines.

Another technology caregivers are embracing is smart rooms. A smart care room brings every aspect of resident care to our fingertips. Caregivers can capture almost any information they need about a patient or resident in real time, then use automation and personalization to work more efficiently and effectively. Smart care planning is an offshoot of this, which enables caregivers to implement practical therapy measures to mitigate risks and improve health outcomes.

In what ways do intelligent communication platforms facilitate collaboration among teams, ensuring seamless information exchange and coordination of care?

Real-time HIPAA compliance in mobile communication platforms can quickly alert and connect caregivers, empowering them to collaborate on changing health conditions so that they can address and prevent adverse events. Further, video-based communication systems can remotely connect caregivers and family members to improve care through conferences or discussions about discharge planning. The idea is to connect residents, families, caregivers, clinicians, and business managers on one multi-care, multi-device platform to boost engagement and efficiency throughout the entire care journey.

Finish this sentence: “The senior living industry in 2024 will be the year of…”

…transformative evolution, marked by a shift towards person-centered care, wellness, and prevention.

Driven by value-based care and global demographic shifts, the senior living industry’s heightened focus on health equity and inclusion will further broaden access to care services for older adults. Personalized and proactive technology solutions will become increasingly important to empower seniors and their families to manage their health more effectively while driving down the cost of care.

Editor’s note: This article has been edited for length and clarity.

MatrixCare is one of the country’s largest post-acute care technology provider and one of the only electronic health record (EHR) provider in the industry to focus on the entire continuum of care. To learn how MatrixCare can help your organization, visit https://www.matrixcare.com/#.

The Voices Series is a sponsored content program featuring leading executives discussing trends, topics and more shaping their industry in a question-and-answer format. For more information on Voices, please contact sales@agingmedia.com.

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