Aspire 2016: Eskaton’s Testing Lab

Aspire bwCALA’s 2016 theme, Aspire, challenges our members and supporters to look forward to the future we are creating for our residents, explore new ways of delivering quality care, and celebrate what has always made us great. Today, we’re bringing you the story of Eskaton and their commitment to pilot testing new technology for residents.

I first learned about Eskaton’s philosophy of “designing with, not for” at the CALA Spring Conference & Trade Show. Therese Ten Brinke, Project Coordinator of Strategic Initiatives for Eskaton, shared that they had received a letter from a resident which jump-started a pilot. The resident wrote, “Why isn’t there a hip airbag device available to protect us from hip fractures?” Eskaton found a company called Active Protective that was in the process of designing a similar wearable technology and approached them to see if they would be interested in piloting the product with Eskaton’s residents.

Active Protective agreed that it would be a beneficial partnership. During the conference session, Active Protective Vice President of Product Development Wamis Singhatat shared how the pilot process helped identify some wearability problems. These findings are leading to some important design changes and, eventually, to a more effective and more attractive product.

tech in senior careIn an article published in the Summer 2016 issue of CALA News & Views, Therese and Sheri Peifer, Eskaton’s Senior VP and Chief Strategy Officer, write, “Innovation is in Eskaton’s mission statement and a part of the organization’s DNA.” They continue:

Staff is encouraged to think creatively about how to solve problems and address challenges. This can be in service design or practice, or in exploring how technology as a tool can improve workflow efficiency and enhance the customer experience.
Much of this innovation is explored through what we refer to as Eskaton’s “testing lab.” We use the term metaphorically since we believe all of our team members and services must embrace a culture of adaptation and exploration in response to a continually changing environment. Therefore, the location of the lab is fluid and can exist anywhere there is an idea within the organization. Staff and residents participate in pilot testing, engage with designers and engineers to test products, and meet regularly in exploration circles.

And throughout each testing process, their philosophy of “designing with, not for” remains a constant:

Like many aging service providers, Eskaton’s top priority organizationally is the pursuit of initiatives that enhance resident well-being, enable efficiencies, and provide value for all customers. For us, technology has been part of the answer. New technologies have allowed us opportunities to better serve our residents through improved communication and proactive interventions, and have provided tools that expand our network of services and provide Eskaton with real-time data to make better decisions. Through technology innovation we have been able to respond to the disruptive changes of our industry, produce results for our customers and healthcare partners, and create more meaningful connections and relationships.

Click here to read the full article and learn more about Eskaton’s pilot testing initiatives.

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