How to choose your next technology partner

Lindsey Daugherty
February 29, 2024

While technology has revolutionized most aspects of our lives, many senior living communities have fallen behind, relying on paper, walkie talkies, and other outdated modes. When I began working in senior living decades ago, communities were using much of the same technology my grandmother had used as a career caregiver. Until I became an executive and implemented Sage, most technology on the market wasn’t intuitive for caretakers and didn’t capture insights that we needed to make real-time decisions. Like many others in the industry, I experienced misleading statements from other companies about the usefulness of their data, poor customer service, and massive replacement costs. However, once we made the change by implementing Sage, a reputable tech partner, I experienced firsthand how integrating new technology can not only modernize your operations, but also enhance quality of care, improve team communication, and provide invaluable insights about how your community operates. Simply put, tech can be a huge differentiator.

However, you want to select the right technology partner—not just the flashiest and newest solution, but a provider which understands both your needs and the needs of your residents. Here are some key questions to ask when choosing a new tech partner.

Does the technology have a user-friendly interface?

If you’ve ever run into an app that glitches or a website that’s hard to navigate, you know that if technology isn’t simple to use, it isn’t useful. The apps or devices should be intuitive, and the platform should offer comprehensive training and support. Before you buy, ask to see a demo and make sure it works as advertised. If it’s possible to actually try the product, do it. And, solicit feedback from caregivers and other team members to make sure this is technology they would find useful and straightforward.

Is the technology compliant?

Regulatory requirements should be top of mind to ensure compliance with HIPAA and any state or local regulations. Your potential tech partner should have a strong track record of adhering to regulations and be able to prove that they can provide robust data security to keep your residents’ (and employees’) information safe. As part of that, the technology should be SOC 2 compliant, a voluntary compliance standard for securely managing data and abiding by certain confidentiality and privacy guidelines. Moreover, all electronic PHI should be encrypted during transmission and storage, there should be access controls so that only authorized individuals can access PHI, and there should be data backup plans in place.

Will the technology easily integrate into your operations?

As you’re making the leap into integrating new technology into your operations, you still need to meet the daily demands of your residents. Therefore, you want to make sure you can minimize disruption. Your tech partner should have experience integrating their solutions with EHR systems and other community management software.

How does installation work?

Ask if the provider is willing to help install their system. For example, at Sage, we offer a 45-day trial program. We install Sage at no cost while still preserving the old system. (And installation is easy, taking just 90 seconds per room.) We also help train your staff on how to use the platform so the transition is as seamless as possible. If customers decide to return to their previous system, we restore it for free.

What actionable data and insights can you gain from the technology?

Gaining metrics from your technology can be a huge advantage. In some cases, your tech partner can provide robust analytics tools to help you track resident health, staff efficiency, and overall operations. These insights can drive informed, data-driven decision-making and improve your community’s performance. Ask the potential partner: Are they merely offering a dashboard with complicated numbers that your team must interpret and analyze? Or do they offer a client success model which will dive into the data on your behalf and surface actionable insights? On Sage, for example, you can view your team’s average incident response time, see when staff response times are highest (and get prompts about potential staffing level changes), and get notified about resident anomalies.

This can also be a gamechanger when it comes to improved transparency, giving residents and their loved ones better insights into care. As one Sage customer, a VP of Wellness for one of the country’s biggest senior living providers, put it, “Being able to show response times to families is invaluable, because even if they have a complaint about one long time wait, we can show them all the other times the staff was responsive and how there are outliers. When you can see hard data, it makes such a difference.”

Is the technology reliable and does it offer support?

Reliability is non-negotiable—your tech needs to work around the clock so that you can provide optimal care. Ask if your tech partner has a proven track record of delivering reliable and stable systems, and ask for how they quantify that. As a point of comparison, Sage boasts an impressive 99.7% uptime, meaning that it’s practically always available for customers to use. Prompt, responsive customer support is also essential should any issues arise. Ask what support model they use and whether they have service-level agreement covering quality and availability? Sage, for example, offers customer support with real team members available to answer your questions and troubleshoot issues.

What results have other users experienced?

These metrics can give you a good idea of what to expect in terms of your return on investment. At Sage, we’re all about tracking the numbers. That’s why we can say that, on average, our customers see a 53% improvement in response time, a 40% improvement in caregiver churn, and an additional $250 of NOI per resident per month. To take that a step further, ask whether the software produces a return on investment within the first few months and whether there’s a way to easily track this. Sage guarantees that our ROI occurs over the first 45 days of use and continues to increase over time.

Is this technology partner in it for the long haul?

Look for partners who want to build long-term relationships and are committed to understanding your evolving needs. Vendors should not require long-term contracts, requiring a huge upfront fee and then nickel-and-diming the customer moving forward. Instead, their model should keep you and the vendor aligned so they perform on an ongoing basis—that’s the foundation of a true partnership.

Tech partners should proactively offer innovative solutions and regularly solicit your feedback. As a former senior living executive, I understand every facet of running a senior living community. We regularly communicate with our customers about the complications and challenges they face, and we work hard to help customers get the most out of our technology. Sage isn’t just a platform, it’s a community.

Adopting new technology may seem intimidating, but it can greatly enhance quality of life for residents, empower staff, and provide valuable insights to help you deliver the best care and support possible. If you choose wisely, the results can be transformational.

Sage is ushering in a new era for senior living with our unified care platform. Use our app to coordinate care and shorten response times, improve team performance with real-time data, and provide families with the transparency they need to know their loved ones are safe. Sign up for a demo or email me at to learn more.

Lindsey Daugherty, Head of Community at Sage