Long-Term Care Facilities Are Enhanced With The Aid Of Technology.

New research by the University of Missouri has revealed that administrators working in long-term care facilities can expect a greater demand for data to be shared electronically with hospitals and other acute-care amenities. The study demonstrates that by making wider use of today’s sophisticated information technology in nursing homes, the quality of healthcare standards can be enhanced.

According to the nursing professor at the University of Missouri, Gregory Alexander, Ph.D., RN, it is a field where the impact of technology on patient care, has received little research. This is probably because nursing homes do not get the same level of investment in technology as hospitals. In the United States, there are about 16,000 nursing homes, with more than one million older Americans relying on these establishments for their care. Even though nursing homes play a vital role in the healthcare system, they do not receive the same financial incentives as hospitals to update their IT programs with more advanced technology.

Working over a three-year period, researchers in the study assessed national trends in IT adoption each year, using an IT sophistication survey. The analysis yielded scores based on IT performance abilities, the extent of IT use and IT integration, as well as the way they are employed in residential care, clinical support and administrative functions. The surveys were completed by more than 800 expert nursing facilities and the results captured via Nursing Home Compare. The research team discovered that in the working environment of physicians and nurses, technology is beginning to play a bigger part in residential care, not only in administration and billing divisions. Alexander said that as resident care experiences more sophistication in its technology activities, there seems to be a more positive effect on quality measures.

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