Jewish Senior Living Group COO Michael Skaff says technology should exist to bring people together.

Feb 14 2019
Patient-Centered Care

HIMSS 2019: Answering ‘Why’ Is Critical During a Digital Transformation

Focusing on core elements and reasons for change will boost the likelihood of success, says Jewish Senior Living Group’s Michael Skaff.

Successful digital transformation in healthcare and senior care is much more about answering the question of “why” rather than “what” or “how,” Jewish Senior Living Group COO Michael Skaff believes.

Speaking at HIMSS 2019 in Orlando, Fla., on Wednesday, Skaff discussed the San Francisco-based organization’s current efforts to upgrade, stressing that while digital solutions are key, it first needed to “forget the technology.”

Digital transformation doesn’t happen quickly or easily,” he said. “Look at the structural elements of what drives organizational change. It doesn’t matter what the tools are — they could be digital, they could be process, they could be financial, they could be a lot of different things — what matters are the core elements of change.”

StoneGate Senior Living

Collaboration and Safety ‘From the Dirt Up’

As part of its transformation, JSLG plans to build 190 brand-new residences and update its San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living. It’s working with CDW to upgrade the cabling infrastructure, Wi-Fi, its networks, and to build sensors into the walls throughout.

MORE FROM HEALTHTECH: Check out all of our stories and videos from HIMSS19.

The organization’s Lynne & Roy M. Frank Residences — its assisted living community — will feature new collaboration tools, wearables and various Internet of Things devices with resident safety in mind.

“It’s an opportunity to do things right from the start, from the dirt up,” Skaff said.

Meanwhile, JSLG’s Byer Square community will be a place where individuals can congregate socially.

“People still need to connect,” he said. “It’s about how you bring people together; technology should exist to do that, and never get in between you and I.”

JOIN THE CONVERSATION: Follow @CDW_Healthcare on Twitter for continued HIMSS19 coverage.

Deliver the Services People Want, Where They Want Them

The main goals for Skaff and his staff are to deliver the services people want, where they want them, and to ensure all of his teams will be able to work well together. At the end of the day, he said, everything comes back to taking care of people.

“You have to have the head, you have to have the heart that are both riding forward to make this a success,” he said. “What matters most is that we’re building physical communities. It’s a place for people to get together and talk to each other. And when they can’t come in, they’ll be able to watch things streamed to them, they’ll be able to stay in touch with the friends that they’ve made.”

From the caregiver side, not everyone is champing at the bit for change, he said.

“We have people who have worked for our organization for over 45 years,” Skaff said. “These people do not want digital tools, they do not want to change that much, they want to keep doing what they’re doing and they want to retire in a few years. But if you can find out what matters to them and make small improvements, listen to them and understand where they see the issues and opportunities are, you can be very effective.”

Keep this page bookmarked for articles from the event. Follow us on Twitter @CDW_Healthcare, as well as the official organization account, @HIMSS, and join the conversation using hashtags including #CDWHIMSS and #HIMSS19.


Dan Bowman

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