Technology Trends 2024

Higher expectations of residents and families, increasing documentation requirements due to MDS changes, looming minimum staffing requirements, and tightening reimbursement are all incentives to optimize technology use in long-term care.  The category of technology solutions designed to meet the needs of seniors has recently been termed AgeTech.  AARP has established the AgeTech Collaborative which brings relevant parties together to develop products and services to “make the process of aging easier.”  According to NIC, the National Investment Center, AgeTech is reshaping the senior housing industry where technology is enhancing resident well-being and addressing caregiver challenges.  Below are a few technology trends which impact seniors and senior living facilities.



The ability to communicate with a provider using telehealth continues to expand since the pandemic health emergency.  The American Telemedicine Association is encouraging Congress to make permanent the Medicare telehealth flexibilities implemented during the PHE and to pass the Telehealth Expansion Act.  One available telehealth tool is focused on mental health for seniors by Talkspace which connects people through an app with therapists who provide counseling over the phone, by video chat, or by text with the goal of combatting loneliness and depression.

Artificial Intelligence

The use of artificial intelligence in healthcare continues to grow, along with concerns about accuracy and appropriate use.  In a recent study using AI to make discharge summaries more patient-friendly, 46% contained at least one error and 18% had inaccuracies or omissions.  The World Health Organization (WHO) released guidance on the ethics and governance of artificial intelligence, specifically large multi-modal models (LMMs) in healthcare.  They outline the potential risks and benefits as well as recommendations for governments and healthcare providers.  Many industry experts note that government regulations are behind in monitoring AI in healthcare due to its rapid changes.  Another study concluded there is a growing need for regulations to ensure transparency, promote health-specific auditing, and provide monitoring to mitigate risks posed by health disinformation developed by large language models.


Staffing levels continue to be below pre-pandemic numbers, and technology plays a role in augmenting staff.  For example, a health system in Minnesota has implemented a virtual sitting program which has improved patient safety through fall reduction and prevention, allowed for monitoring various vitals and specific conditions, improved staff efficiency, and decreased staffing costs.  They estimate the program has prevented over 500 falls per month.

Smart Devices

Employing smart technologies continues to expand in senior living.  Examples include Alexa Smart Properties which allows residents to use voice commands for a multitude of purposes.  Alexa can integrate with wearable devices for wander management or to call a nurse or access a healthcare provider.  The financial and market projections for the voice-based long-term care solutions market are rapidly growing, with more companies entering the market and offering innovative solutions.  A major challenge noted in this expansion is ensuring HIPAA compliance.

Google Health has a collaborative effort with Fitbit using AI to build personalized health Large Language Models to provide Fitbit users with specific coaching and recommendations.  Google has also developed Google Lens which uses AI to allow users to search for skin conditions by taking a picture.

Sensors to transmit data to an app to alert patients and staff are advancing care in wound therapy, and digital health interventions have demonstrated improvements in managing hypertension.  Other top innovations include a robot companion to help with loneliness and provide reminders, heart health monitoring through smartphone apps to allow users to see how lifestyle choices impact their cardiovascular health, and integration of AI-generated clinical documentation of physician-patient encounters into the EHR.

Resident Satisfaction

Loneliness and isolation are often issues for seniors.  One tool to address this is the metaverse, or virtual reality (VR).  Using VR applications, seniors can travel, attend events, engage in activities, games, and exercise without leaving home.  In addition to providing socialization opportunities, when coupled with remote patient monitoring devices, the metaverse can facilitate virtual consultations and health assessments.


Cybersecurity failures can have extreme consequences.  A review of medical devices revealed 23% of medical devices have at least one known exploited vulnerability.  Medical devices typically have replacement schedules based on expected component failure times, not based on cybersecurity concerns.  These legacy devices are vulnerable to cybersecurity threats, and security strategies must be implemented to mitigate these risks.  Of critical infrastructure industries, healthcare organizations reported the most ransomware attacks last year.  These attacks impact patient care through postponed procedures, diverted ambulance services, and other issues.

Application Selection

For long-term care providers, staying abreast of available technologies and selecting where to invest resources can be daunting.  One resource is LeadingAge, the national organization of nonprofit aging service providers, which publishes resources with tools to select technology solutions through their Center for Aging Services Technologies (CAST).  These tools “help providers understand, plan for, select, implement, and adopt the appropriate technology while advocating for innovative care models.”  CAST provides comprehensive decision support tools in the areas of electronic health records, telehealth and remote patient monitoring, medication management, functional assessment monitoring, shared care planning, social connectedness and engagement, safety, health information exchange, data analytics, and infection control.

Excelas continues to monitor technology advancements, with a special interest in integration of data from AI applications and remote patient monitoring tools with the electronic medical record.  Excelas can assist your facility in a documentation review to ensure timely and complete integration of data into residents’ medical records for patient care, reimbursement, administrative, compliance, and risk management purposes.

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