HOW TECHNOLOGY CAN HELP US PREPARE FOR AN ENDEMIC
March marks two years since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. COVID-19 has impacted nearly all Americans and industries from our education system to senior living, business and travel. With the help of technology, leaders of these industries were able to innovate and communicate to maintain productivity and the safety of those they support.
Now more than ever, it’s important to prioritize the health of our employees, students, residents, guests, or anyone that comes into our bubble. Today’s technology has provided anyone with the ability to use advanced screening and self-service solutions to greatly limit the necessity of person to person contact, which can result in the spread of viruses. These solutions can be used to detect illness early with health screening surveys and be used for contact tracing to keep people informed of when they’ve had a potential exposure. Providing these technologies has given people the freedom to begin to attend the places they used to more safely.
Technology hasn’t just helped to ensure the physical health of people during the pandemic, but it has had a great impact on people’s mental health as well, especially in senior living. A study at the beginning of the pandemic revealed 56% of people over the age of 50 said they often felt isolated from others — double the 27% who felt isolated from others in a similar poll in 2018. Because the pandemic caused so many residents to feel isolated and negatively impacted their quality of life, it was clear something needed to change. This is why many senior living facilities implemented technology solutions to improve their resident engagement and communication, such as in-room portals.
Prior to the pandemic, many seniors were hesitant to adopt new technologies, but the challenges of isolating and restricted visiting dispelled many seniors’ resistance to these tools. With an in-room portal, residents were able to access a variety of services including meal ordering, maintenance requests, but more importantly, it provided the ability for residents to interact with one another and their loved ones safely. With video calling, email, and other ways to interact, residents were able to communicate with the people they cared about, even when they weren’t able to visit in person.
Proper communication has always been important in the working world, but the pandemic has greatly increased the need for quick and easy communication. With hybrid working becoming increasingly popular and the challenges the pandemic has created, such as staff shortages, businesses were in desperate need of solutions that could improve efficiency, communication, and overall operations. With the mass notification and automated alerting technology available today, many companies have been able to provide their employees with the tools they need to easily stay connected and productive. Whether employers need to keep their staff up to date on changing covid protocols or receive emergency alerts, they can.
With an endemic in sight, we must not lose track of the progress we made towards helping our communities thrive amid challenges. In a post-pandemic world, it is important to continue to embrace technology and invest time and resources into staying up to date with what’s next. Despite our ever-changing environment, the right technology is able to adapt with you. In the long run, implementing these solutions will make business, learning, and living easier.