A Clinician’s Take on Tech: How Inspīr Is Innovating Senior Living

BY: 

INSPIR SENIOR LIVING TEAM

Brian Geyser, Chief Clinical Officer for Inspīr and VP Clinical Innovation & Population Health for Maplewood Senior Living, was recently interviewed by Tim Regan of SeniorHousingNews.com. They covered topics from Amazon Alexa, to the Inspir Alli tech suite, to virtual reality and emerging technologies. The big question: How might technology serve a purpose for whole person wellness? Listen to the podcast episode or read the transcript below.

-On Maplewood’s recent technology investments-

Geyser: One of the things that I have done since I got here is to help bring Maplewood into the next generation with tech around how we impact residents’ lives. We have made a significant investment in our infrastructure to make sure we can support all of these new technology devices that are going to be on our network. You really need that foundation first to make sure everything is seamless for each resident.

We’re really interested in IoT [the internet of things] and bringing smart apartment technology into play here at Maplewood. We’re working with Amazon and other companies to really nail down how we deliver voice-enabled technology to seniors. We do assisted living and memory care, and in New York City we’ll also be doing advanced care for those with more complex needs.

Our challenges are to the best way to adapt a general population-based product like Alexa and modify it so that it actually delivers results for our particular population, their families, and for our staff, too. And then a huge focus for us is connectivity. We want to connect the residents to the outside world, to their families. And internally, we want to connect residents to staff, and vice versa.

So, we’re looking at all different kinds of technologies that achieve this, but with a huge focus on integration. Basically, the capability of these things to talk to each other.

-On how Amazon Alexa will be integrated in Inspir-

Alexa will be an extension of our concierge service. A resident can say, “Alexa, call the concierge,” 24/7, and they will have access to our concierge, right through the speaker. Whatever the resident needs, we’ll attend to that.

We’re working with some companies on enabling artificial intelligence through Alexa [and] having Alexa understand our residents’ intent. 

So, when a resident has a specific need, they can ask Alexa, and she will understand what the need is and route that to the appropriate member of the care team or to the appropriate department. An example of that is saying something like, Alexa, my light is broken in my bathroom. That will be routed directly to the maintenance team so it can be addressed even faster.

Right now, in most assisted living communities, it’s the “call pendant” that gets pressed for any resident need, and that notification goes to the care team—who in turn have to determine which team should address that need. That is problematic on many levels, obviously, for efficiency’s sake. For example, care staff did not go to nursing school or CNA school to learn how to fix a lamp. They really want to be laser-focused on resident care. So, to be able to use Alexa as that virtual assistant, if you will, residents [will] have faster access to information, to staff when they need it, and to the right staff, when they need it.

Residents will be able to ask Alexa what’s on the calendar, what’s on the menu today, what are my notifications for the day, and then all of the other typical Alexa-type features, like play my favorite playlist or radio station, turn off the lights, turn up the temperature, and all of that.

The ability for residents to use voice to access staff is really critical. When that happens, when a resident says, Alexa, I need my care team because my arm hurts, that notification will go to the care team, it comes up on the resident’s phone as a text notification. It says specifically what the resident said. That way, we can prioritize getting to that resident. And then we can say, Jane, I’ll be right there, don’t move, I’ll be there in 30 seconds. That ability to connect is really critical for us and we’re excited to be using Alexa and other technologies to do that.

-On what the Alli tech suite is-

We have accumulated a variety of different technologies over the course of the past couple of years that make a positive impact on residents and their families. And we’ve decided to take those various pieces and bring them together under a single technology suite. For Inspir, we’re calling it Alli.

The reason we call it that is because we see technology as a partner. It’s an accompaniment. It’s not taking the place of human contact whatsoever. Rather, it’s augmenting and enhancing what we’re already doing on the human side. Allowing our staff to be more efficient and effective. And allowing residents to feel more in control. So, the technology is our “alli”, and we have a variety of different technologies in that suite. Everything from virtual reality to Alexa-enabled care concierge to digital interactive programs, livestreaming adult education programming.

That’s really what it’s about. And, really, when a product makes it into the Alli suite, we have tested it, we feel that it’s beneficial, and it integrates into the whole Inspir mission.

-On Maplewood’s commitment to virtual reality-

About a year and a half ago, we made the decision to bring in VR across our entire portfolio and add it to our lifestyle platform. 

What we’re doing with it now is we’re using it both for sheer entertainment purposes, because it’s just really awesome, but then we’re also using it on a therapeutic level, for people with dementia doing reminiscence therapy.

We find, for the most part, that residents enjoy the experience tremendously. For people with memory impairment, we can strategically decide, on a resident-by-resident basis, who might have a good experience with that particular technology. We can bring people back to the university that they graduated from, or their elementary school, or to places they traveled throughout their life.

We find it sparks memories in a really enhanced way. It’s far beyond what we have ever seen just using traditional photo albums.

We’ve also been experimenting with using VR on the therapy side of things, for physical therapy, in particular. You can go into a virtual world and you’re brought to a place where, just through the sheer experience of it, you’re moving around. You’re working on core strength and flexibility and range of motion, without even realizing you’re doing that.

A lot of residents don’t really enjoy physical therapy, but this makes it fun and enjoyable, and in some cases they’re not even aware they’re in a physical therapy session.

-On coming tech trends-

I think two obvious trends right now are voice and IoT. But beyond that, the one place that has amazing promise is passive monitoring technology. Specifically, I’m talking about wearables and systems you can put into the apartment that can very passively monitor a resident’s health status. I think this is very exciting, but it’s very new still. We’re only beginning to explore how that kind of technology can come into play.

We would get into the passive monitoring space right now if we felt it was something that was evolved enough to really make an impact. I could see it enabling a resident to have more security and independence in their own apartment, their own private space. Right now, the only way we know a resident is okay behind those doors is if we knock and ask to come in.

Now, imagine a future where the room, the apartment itself, tells us that the resident is okay because it senses the resident’s respiration rate and pulse rate. And it knows the resident is there. It knows the resident is not on the floor in pain. And this can be done right now through passive monitoring technologies.

I see a future where the apartment itself, perhaps with robotics and artificial intelligence, can help us know that a resident is all right. And when a resident is not, the resident won’t even necessarily have to tell us that. The apartment itself will tell us that. The pulse rate will skyrocket or some change in vital signs will occur, telling us that it’s out of the norm for this particular person. I think that’s a really exciting space and I’m looking forward to companies that can achieve this level of innovation in our industry.

Originally published on SeniorHousingNews.com: https://seniorhousingnews.com/2019/08/28/maplewoods-manhattan-highrise-to-be-proving-ground-for-cutting-edge-tech-suite/