I was recently asked by a client to research and recommend a software system for use in his portfolio of smaller assisted living communities.  A very popular lead tracking software was already in use by his marketing team, but the assessment and care planning modules were considered too clunky and complicated by the care staff.  The sales module – terrific.  The clinical module, not so much.  Sound familiar? 

In the last decade, I’ve explored and used dozens of software systems for senior housing.  Many specialize in one specific area such as marketing and lead tracking, and others boast a fully integrated and complete solution.  The market has become crowded and a bit confusing, and this of course can lead to frustration for operators when picking and implementing a system.  As one CEO recently described his company-wide rollout of a new software system, “It was like poking myself in the eye with a red hot poker…repeatedly.”  And if I might add, “being charged for it.”  I have similar retinal scars. 

So, is there a better “mousetrap?” Well, if your definition of “better” is more bells and whistles, some of which are useful to you, many of which are not – then, I can say unequivocally, “yes.”  But if by “better” you mean, improved functionality and ease of use…well that’s a narrower niche.     


Simple Truths

The answer in a word, is “Simplicity.”  If a design is effective and easy to use, it doesn’t need excessive bells and whistles.  While this simple truth (pardon the pun) is understood and reflected in most of today’s popular consumer electronics, much of the senior housing software has yet to embrace this.  I contend that this is due to our industry’s rush to integrate technology into our environments because of the realization that we’re behind the curve.  But has this rush led to over complication?  

Enter Carevium Assisted Living Software.  As part of my exploration into the current software market for senior housing, I reached out to a relatively new player on the scene with a refreshing perspective – and product.  I spoke to Paddu Govindaraj, Founder and CEO of Carevium, who was kind enough to show me his easy to use, yet very sophisticated software.  The graphics were clear and understandable and the functionality was terrific.  I tried looking at the system through the eyes of a caregiver and was able to see past the “software” to the resident information and tasks it communicated.  As software goes, I cannot give a higher compliment. 

When High Tech Trumps High Touch

We all understand the “behind the scenes” complexity of today’s mobile devices, computers, smart cars, televisions and kitchen appliances.  The technology and operating systems being imbedded in our toasters and refrigerators borders on science fiction.  “Open the pod bay doors, HAL.”  “I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.” Keep repeating to yourself, “It’s only a toaster, it’s only a toaster.”  But what makes these products attractive to the consumer is their simplicity of use.  We don’t want to know the specifications of the latest IOS update, we just want it to be fast and easy to use.   No one wants to go mouse hunting with a trap you need a 200-page manual, 3-hour online training and multiple patches to use. 

Something Different

Our caregivers need ease of use not only because most do not have a degree in computer science, but because they don’t have the time to learn a complex system; it’s like asking a carpenter to build a table with a hammer that’s too heavy to lift – or too complicated to use.  Of course, new updates are always on the way, for a modest upgrade and support charge requiring only a 60-minute download and 2-3 hour tutorial.  Oh, you might also need upgraded computers and routers.  But that’s all…assuming there are no bugs or glitches (look up “red hot poker to the eye” on Wikipedia for more details).

But not all software systems are created (or upgraded) equally. Paddu explained his intention was to offer a system that was easy to use, implement and understand – not just the software itself, but also the pricing – be still my heart.  Carevium offers something rare, a software system that obviously has the focus squarely on the resident and the caregiver.  Its functionality is on par with the best I’ve seen, its ease of use, impressive.  Best of all, for smaller and mid-sized companies, its affordability is surprising. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend that if you’re in the market for senior housing software, it would be worth your time to look at Carevium.  Unless of course you enjoy a good poke to the eye.

For more information, contact Paddu Govindaraj, Founder and CEO of Carevium, at 888.987.0663 or visit them on the web at http://www.carevium.com/.

John Gonzales