Healthcare

5 Reasons to Embrace Secure Communications for Senior Living

Secure communications has positive impacts on senior living.

Mobile devices have become ubiquitous in day-to-day life. The majority of Americans own a smart phone and use it not just for personal matters but for professional matters, too. It’s a technology that spans gender, location, profession and age – with 46% of senior Americans owning a smart phone. With smartphones this ubiquitous, it’s not a surprise that senior living residences are starting to leverage smart phones to streamline their operations. 

Using secure communication platforms, senior living residences are able to bring together all the relevant stakeholders—including doctors, caretakers, patients, and family members—to improve the care coordination of their residents and overall health outcomes. These types of communication tools can also increase engagement with caretakers and resident/patient to improve the care continuum and adherence to care plans.  

Leveraging secure communications can positively impact senior living in many ways. Below, we’ve touched on 5 top reasons why secure communications improve the lives of residents at senior living facilities.

1. Secure Communications has all the features of text messaging while staying HIPAA compliant.

Text messaging is the most used communication channel in the world – and many studies show that texting is commonly used for all ages 55 and under. They also predict that this age is going up quicker than anyone expected.  It’s a way to communicate without having to stop what you’re doing and without having to rely on the person on the other end being available right then, right now—which is the case with a phone call. 

The problem, however, is that standard SMS texting is usually not encrypted and is not HIPAA compliant–limiting what information that can actually be shared over text. 

Secure communications, however, mimic the look and feel of text messaging but are encrypted end-to-end and are HIPAA compliant, meaning information like ePHI can be safely shared in conversations—a must for people working in senior living and for the patients they work with.

2. Secure Communications brings together different stakeholders and ensures clarity of information.

81% of adults over the age of 65 have more than one chronic condition. Elderly people often rely on an extended care team, including family members. It is important that this care team be in regular communication to ensure quality care. An elderly patient may have a primary care doctor as well as a cardiologist to control high blood pressure and pulmonologist to treat emphysema. Lack of communication between care members can have serious negative effects.  In fact, over 20% of older adults in the US take a medication that can adversely affect another chronic condition. 

Secure communications allow members of the care team to easily and quickly share information and ensure that everyone’s on the same page—so that people’s roles are complementary and that communication during transitions from one doctor to the next or one facility to the next occurs without mistakes.

3. Secure Communications promotes appointment and medication adherence.

With everything going on for patients residing in senior living, it’s all too easy to forget important information like upcoming appointments and taking medication. Using secure communications, staff in senior living can regularly remind seniors about upcoming appointments or medications that they need to take—and they can be specific because the messages are HIPAA compliant. 

Secure communications can also be used to follow up with patients after appointments, sharing information about treatment so that they have a place to revisit the information if they need to.

4. Secure Communications keeps people in Senior Living informed about upcoming activities.

Using secure communications, staff at senior living facilities can easily keep residents in the loop about upcoming activities—from trivia night, to a concert, to annual festival celebrations. They can also send out wellness reminders. Staff can create groups and send messages, alerting residents to these upcoming events and ways to take care of their health, furthering resident engagement.

5. Secure Communications allows people to communicate on the go.

In a senior living residence, people are often on the go—staff are travelling from room-to-room, family members may be popping in and out. Secure communications allow staff and residents to communicate without having to be in a specific place at a specific time. It fosters collaboration without disrupting people’s roles and/or responsibilities.

As a secure communications platform, Vaporstream empowers senior living residences to improve their patients’ engagement and health outcomes. Tim Taylor, NHA, Executive Director of Regency Retirement Village explains how, saying, “Vaporstream has become an indispensable part of both our daily operations and strategic planning. We use it to securely communicate with caretakers, patients and family members for each level of care we provide. Vaporstream allows us to seamlessly collaborate to coordinate patient care and enhance clinical or residential processes. Because of Vaporstream, our employee and patient engagement has significantly increased.”

To learn more about how Vaporstream can help your senior living residence, download our solution brief here.

Contributor: The Vaporstream Team