When it comes to evaluating assisted living software, where do you even start? Before you start conducting software demos, make sure you are considering software that meets the following conditions:
1. Easy to Use
Assisted living software is used by many different users with varying degrees of computer skills -- from sales and nursing to accountants and operations. Look for a system that is intuitive and user friendly with online user guides and a responsive technical support team. Find out what average response times are to customer support requests.
2. Industry Specific
The software choices that exist for assisted living providers range from retro-fitted nursing home software to property management software. Therefore, it is important to choose a software that was designed specifically for the assisted living industry so you are not paying for a solution that doesn’t meet or exceeds your needs. Ask what percentage of a software providers’ clients are specifically assisted living providers versus residential real estate or skilled nursing.
While there is not a ‘perfect’ solution that exists, you can certainly come close. Identify the various software components you are currently using and look for a software that integrates the majority of these functions into one solution. Flexible software solutions are usually able to integrate with many application programming interfaces (APIs). Find out what integrations already are in use by current customers.
Every assisted living provider has specific processes and procedures for their operations that it is hard to find a ‘one-size-fits all’ when it comes to software. Finding a software provider that already has built in customization is key. Find out if drop down menu choices are flexible, custom reports can be created and assessment tools can be modified.
Most software solutions have start-up costs along with a monthly subscription fee. Monthly fees can be based on number of units, number of users or a combination of the two. There can also be fees associated with data conversion, training, customer support, etc. Be sure to ask what is included in start-up cost as well as the monthly subscription fee so ‘hidden fees’ don’t surface once you’ve signed a contract.
Once you’ve established a list of software providers that meet this criteria and you’ve conducted some demos, you’ll want to get references from existing clients. Be sure to speak with a variety of end-users that work in different areas of the product (i.e. sales, clinical, billing, etc.) to make sure it is meeting their needs.