Upending the call bell system

Matt Lynch, CTO
March 13, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • Traditional nurse call systems in senior living communities are outdated. Next-gen operations management systems offer revolutionary features and benefits.
  • Nurse call systems are disjointed, leading to delays in response, lack of escalation options, and poor record keeping.
  • Operations management systems, such as Sage, provide better communication, detailed resident history, and automated event logging for efficient care management. Plus, operators can gain actionable insights through advanced analytics, enabling proactive decision-making and better care for residents.
  • Operations management systems can reduce response time, reduce caregiver turnover, and increase net operating income.

While traditional nurse call systems have long been a staple in senior living communities, the evolving needs of residents and caregivers require more than just the standard features. Today’s tech meets that—and exceeds it.

Next-generation operations management systems, such as Sage, not only encompass the core functionalities of a nurse call bell, but also boast features that can vastly improve communications and operations. This is a major technological shift, akin from the transition from DVDs to streaming or cell phones to smartphones. Let’s dive deeper into how operations management systems go far beyond basic nurse-call functions, from their communication platforms to advanced data analytics, to explore how this tech is reshaping the industry.

Why the old nurse call system doesn’t cut it anymore

With old nurse call systems, residents hit a button, triggering a light in the hallway and an alert in the nurse’s station. The caregiver notices the alert, helps the resident, and then writes up a report of what happened.

Now, what’s wrong with this scenario? First, there could be delays in the response if caregivers don’t notice the alert—and every minute, or even second, can make an immense difference during an emergency. This process is also disjointed. If a caregiver needs to escalate and get additional help, they need to use a different device to do so, relying on walkie talkies or pagers. If the resident has recently had a similar emergency, the caregiver may not know the details. After the incident, the event report can get lost in the fray, especially if it’s written on paper. And, worst of all, the facility has no way to analyze the response. Because of this, residents often spend months in the wrong level of care when their situations change, plus there are no quantitative insights into community operations.

In our modern age, there are better solutions.

A transformative experience with operations management systems

Here’s how nurse call works with an operations management system like Sage: Residents hit a nurse call button on a pendant, bracelet, or wall, which will seem familiar to residents who have interacted with nurse call before. With Sage, these buttons are waterproof with a 2-year battery life.

An alert pops up on the devices of each caregiver on duty via the Sage platform. Caregivers can mark when they’re responding or, as needed, they can use Sage to escalate to another more senior employee or reassign the task. They can text each other and communicate over the app’s walkie talkie function. As they respond to the incident, Sage prompts them about the resident’s history, which peers have responded to other recent nurse call events, and other crucial details, better informing their plan of action. Finally, the caregiver logs the event and critical care information through Sage’s automated flow, which makes managing resident history far easier than ever before.

Meanwhile, the operations management system is recording data about every interaction, compiling it into actionable insights.

Real-time data and actionable insights

Aside from improving the flow of the nurse call experience, operations management systems empower community owners and operators with actionable insights that catalyze informed decision-making and drive tangible outcomes. Other data analysis systems may provide raw numbers or a jumbled dashboard with complex datasets. Unlike conventional approaches that only visualize data in charts and tables, operations management platforms can delve deeper, unraveling actionable insights that guide users towards precise actions and strategic interventions.

For example, Sage’s data analysis offers contextualized perspectives that highlight crucial trends and findings. We leverage advanced analytics and predictive modeling to uncover hidden patterns, identify correlations, and make predictions that can inform decision-making and drive better outcomes. Sage users can see average incident response times. Users are prompted if staffing levels are unbalanced. Sage will alert caregivers if residents are showing warning signs that may indicate a need for closer monitoring. Recommendations can also be personalized depending on your community’s size, goals, and more.

Other data included on the Sage dashboard includes:

  • Total number of alerts
  • Average claim time
  • Average resolution time
  • Type of care time (broken down by activities of daily living, non-ADL, and emergencies)
  • Staff logins, including the number of staff logged in and the number of staff claiming alerts
  • The number of alerts per resident and prompts about residents who may be up for care adjustment considerations
  • Monthly revenue opportunities, both in total and per resident, according to how care packages may be adjusted

These actionable insights equip users with the clarity and direction needed to address challenges, seize opportunities, and optimize performance, thereby facilitating proactive decision-making, fostering continuous improvement, and improving quality of life for residents. Owners and operators can go from being reactive to proactive in how they manage their staff and communities. It also gives better opportunities to be transparent with residents and their loved ones about their care, helping you build trust and reducing friction. With Sage, when you prepare to notify residents and their families about a need for increased care, the platform can automate care change letters with detailed data about the number of alerts, how those alerts compare to the general population in the community, time of alerts, and alerts per day. Providing hard data moves the conversation from being qualitative and emotional to one that is driven by facts. Moreover, this transparency allows loved ones to have the information they need to become collaborative care partners.

Focusing on the user experience

If a product doesn’t appeal to community leadership and caregivers, then it’s not going to be fully utilized. That’s why operations management systems should offer intuitive interfaces and interactive features that facilitate collaboration and engagement. At Sage, we pride ourselves on a leadership team whose experience includes boots-on-the-ground caregiving alongside experts with deep experience in the tech world. Together, we’ve created a transformative, cutting-edge experience that’s still deeply grounded in the human elements of caregiving. If your caregivers know how to use a computer, smartphone, or tablet, they’ll know how to use Sage—our platform is as intuitive as any common social media app, fits seamlessly into the daily activities of care staff, and has helpful tools to guide users through the functionality. Operations management software can become the one and only tool staff need to coordinate care.

What happens when you can put data into action

We can’t speak for other operations management systems but we know that, for some, Sage’s results are difficult to believe.They’ve been sold technology before with big promises that didn’t deliver. However, considering that our operations management platform is so incredibly different from legacy solutions and helps communities track data they’ve never had before, the results make sense. Once our customers have this technology in hand and can leverage Sage’s real-time insights, they’re able to raise the bar in incredible ways. Our customers experience:

  • 53% reduction in response time, plus more accurate care for residents.
  • 30% reduction in caregiver churn. Sage provides caregivers with the tools they need and better supports them in their roles.
  • An additional $250 of net operating income per resident per month thanks to increased efficiency, improved staffing levels, increased caregiver retention, and assurance that residents are paying for the appropriate level of care.
  • 99.7% uptime, the term for how often our platform is up and running without delays or downtime for updates—meaning you’ll virtually always have access.

Operators also have increased visibility into caregiver performance and better ability to accurately report on Medicare and Medicaid activities, among many other benefits.

Operations management platforms represent a paradigm shift not just for nurse call systems, but for every aspect of running a senior living community. By prioritizing core functionalities alongside advanced features that enhance user experience and drive meaningful outcomes, this technology can help you redefine excellence in senior living. Users can benefit from streamlined communication, real-time data insights, and personalized recommendations, as well as a transformative nurse-call system. The remarkable results experienced by Sage’s customers underscore just how innovative this technology is.

If you’d like to learn more about what Sage can do for you, schedule a demo today.