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Identifying Innovative Technologies

Interview with Trish Barbato, Revera’s Head of Innovation
When you’re Trish Barbato, Revera’s senior vice-president, innovation and strategic partnerships, it’s all about enriching the lives of seniors — through both incremental, ground-level change, and the kinds of innovation that can only be achieved through a big-picture lens.

This summer, Barbato was asked to be a guest on the Madison, Wisconsin-based business and innovation blog Flyover Labs, to talk about how innovations are helping improve the lives of seniors, whether it’s through small, incremental advances that come from simply engaging with seniors and senior-living staff, to the technological advancements focused on bettering the lives of older people, to what Barbato calls “transformational innovation.”
“What does it mean to be innovative?”

At Revera, “transformational” takes the form of the Revera Innovators in Aging program, an ongoing investment created by Revera, says Barbato, to find new ways to enhance the resident experience, engage employees and increase efficiencies, with successful startups receiving funding from Revera to help develop the idea. Recently, a group of high school students, in San Francisco, pitched Revera a wrist-worn sensor that detects if someone requires immediate medical attention — immediately contacting emergency services based on the sensor’s GPS.

“They’re in high school, I just want to repeat that,” Barbato told the Flyover host, David Kruse. “We are seeing more young people interested in solving aging problems. I just find that fascinating.”

And while innovations such as this sensor can make a big difference in seniors’ lives, day-to-day changes can have just as big of an impact, especially when it comes to choice and a feeling of independence. Here, it’s all about listening to the residents, their families, staff and other people in the community, and letting this first-hand knowledge guide the innovation.

“Ultimately my measure of success will be that we have implemented products and services and technology into our homes that make a difference to the resident and the family that we serve,” says Barbato.

You can listen to the podcast here.