Autumnaged Care

Looking Forward: What’s on the Horizon for Aged Care?

Autumnaged Care

Looking Forward: What’s on the Horizon for Aged Care?

Aged care technology advances within multiple health care sectors have been a key focus for governments the world over.

While hospitals and ambulatory care have seen high adoptions of new technologies and benefits, aged care facilities have largely been behind this trend.

In an encouraging new US study, experts have spent time understanding the particular benefits that technology could lend the aged care sector.

Helpfully, the study delves further into the question of tech and aged care, uncovering unique difficulties facing the aged care sector for technology to be adopted well.

The study offers that in an honest and thorough understanding of the aged care sector, hesitations about technology adoption may be managed well in partnership and with support.

Why was the study conducted?

The study was lead by Professor Gregory Alexander, a professor of clinical informatics at Missouri University.

Across 2 years, Alexander and his colleagues collected information relating to technology adoption in nursing homes, how the residents felt and any improvements.

“We already knew that information technology can help create better care outcomes, but this study helped us see which technologies improve which elements of care,”

“As IT capabilities and extent of IT use improved in nursing homes, we saw an associated decline in urinary tract infections, among other correlations.”

The benefits found

Across the information received, Alexander and his team discovered that there were improvements in three main categories.

  • Facilities that reported using advanced IT capabilities in administrative activities displayed a lower percentage of residents with moderate to severe pain.
  • With the increased use of clinical technologies, including laboratory sources, facilities exhibited a decrease in residents with urinary incontinence
  • Facilities that increased their technology use within resident care saw a decrease in residents with new or worsening pressure ulcers.

Obstacles to be overcome

Alexander and his team discovered that two facilities lost capabilities along the two year study.

Addressing this Alexander says, “Many homes don’t have a trained expert to manage the technology, so even if they do decide to upgrade their IT capabilities, they may abandon certain ones because they are too difficult or expensive to manage.

If they aren’t being reimbursed for investing in information technology, they may decide it isn’t worth the time and money.”

Lessons learnt

Alexander says that the study hopes to help aged care facilities and their administrators discern which IT and technology capabilities are most needed and appropriate for them.

It is in understanding which tech capabilities and features will particularly help each facility that the study hopes to lend itself.

The future of the aged care sector and IT is likely to have a fruitful future.

It is within the right information getting to facilities, to make informed decisions as to design and implementation of technology, that make studies such as Alexanders so useful and needed.

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