By Susan Saldibar
The main reason more senior living communities hesitate to automate isn’t what you think it is. It isn’t necessarily the fear of technology or even the expense. Most can see the benefits over the horizon and calculate an ROI. The biggest roadblock is actually an organizational one. How do we get everything ready for automation? What’s involved? How much effort will it take? Who will do it? Will it derail our day-to-day operations? With a roadblock that massive, inaction is easier.
A great example of this is digital admissions software. Darren Mathis, CEO and founder of LincWare, the company behind Admit+ (and a Senior Living Foresight partner), knows how daunting the idea of getting all the move-in paperwork organized in advance of automating the process can be. That’s why they long ago realized that there was only one way to approach it. Just dig in and do it for the client. And that, he says, has made all the difference.
“The 20-30 documents needed for admissions means the potential for numerous wrong forms, outdated forms, unused forms, or missing forms,” Darren says. “What you don’t want to do is to automate a broken process,” he adds.
That said, here are the planning steps that Admit+ recommends (and does for clients) along with what Darren somewhat facetiously refers to as “hidden gems” that come up during the process.
- Hold an initial meeting with the head of corporate sales and marketing to discuss issues, challenges, and goals.
- Retrieve all admissions documents, review and organize them.
- Obtain a client contact in a key community to go over documents and understand the current process.
- Assess the admissions requirements and organize the process.
- Meet with the leadership of all communities in that state; are they all following this process? Where are the gaps? Are any documents missing?
- Meet with the leadership of communities in other states. Obtain state-specific forms. This provides a universal understanding of the complete process, across communities and across state lines.
- Set up an automation platform for a single key community.
- Test the platform; obtain input. Make any necessary adjustments.
- Deploy the technology fully.
Going through this process is essential, Darren says. He likens the importance of organizing your admissions process to building a house. “Planning is critical in order to implement content management best practices,” he says. “Much like building a house, you need a solid foundation to accommodate the number of rooms above.”
Kathy Belli, LincWare Project Manager, compares the process to having a big dinner party without first checking on food preferences, allergies, vegan needs, etc. “You can end up preparing gourmet dishes that nobody can eat,” she says. So you get the idea.
If you don’t go through these steps and shake out all the anomalies you can end up with a great automated platform that is efficient and incomplete. “It’s so important to get the manual process sorted out before you automate,” Darren says. “That’s why we do this for our clients. We know how overwhelming it can be. We have developed a process that covers all the bases in advance before the technology is deployed.”
The worst mistake, Darren tells community leadership, is to remain frozen in an inefficient process simply because you think the preparation will be too cumbersome and take too much time. “With all the time spent putting off tackling your outdated admissions process, you could already be enjoying the benefits and considerable time and cost savings of automation.”
For more information about Admit+, please visit the website.