Shannon McIntyre

While brewing some tea today, the Celestial Seasonings teabag hit me with this piece of wisdom: “We must be the change we wish to see in the world,” by Mahatma Gandhi. Or, in the words of Michael Jackson: “I’m starting with the man in the mirror.”

This concept doesn’t just apply to each of us individually; it applies to companies, even to nations. Last month, at LeadingAge, I found that most senior living providers do indeed have a vision for change in the world – and it starts with innovation. And today, especially with the costs of care rising so dramatically each year, it would be hard to find a company that doesn’t advocate for innovation in our senior living and healthcare systems.

The rhetoric is there, the momentum is heightened — and now we must put our money where our mouths are.  Not to imply that technology always just takes money out of the pocket — if done correctly, technology-enabled programs can even help improve the bottom line. Further, there’s excellent evidence out there that technology-enabled models of care can keep people healthy and independent for longer.

Like what, you might ask? St. Vincent Health‘s initial findings from a remote patient monitoring-enabled study deliver yet more support for changing care models. As a member of Ascension Health, the nation’s largest not-for-profit Catholic Healthcare System, St. Vincent knew they were a role model for the industry and were ready to embody innovation.  

The preliminary results have been staggering, revealing a 75% reduction in readmissions compared to the control group and national average. Now, St. Vincent has become an outspoken advocate of changing care models.  We’re repeatedly seeing that once a company tries change out, they don’t want to look back.

With the election decided and the Affordable Care Act moving forward, senior living providers and healthcare organizations will be prompted to innovate by both the carrot and the stick. So, a la Michael Jackson: “make that change!”

Shannon McIntyre is the director of corporate communications at Intel-GE Care Innovations.