NEW STUDY FOUND THAT NURSING HOMES ADOPTING INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY CAN BOOST QUALITY OF CARE IMPROVEMENT
As today’s technology is advancing, the fast paced development slowly penetrates quality of care growth in any health care facility such as nursing homes.
According to a new study, nursing homes that adopt more sophisticated information technologies are seeing specific improvements in the quality of care. That includes electronic medical records and other digital data systems in resident care, clinical support, and administrative activities.
“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,” says Gregory Alexander, a professor of clinical informatics at Missouri University. “As IT capabilities and extent of IT use improved in nursing homes, we saw an associated decline in urinary tract infections, among other correlations.”
Collecting surveys once per year for two years from nursing homes nationwide, Alexander and his colleagues compared the responses, rating the advancement of a given facility’s information technology, in contradiction with federal data describing 18 quality measures in those same facilities, and technology had positive effects on quality of care. For instance they found that:
- Facilities reporting greater IT capabilities in administrative activities were associated with a lower percentage of residents reporting moderate to severe pain.
- Increased use of clinical support technologies, which include laboratory systems, was associated with lower percentages of residents with urinary incontinence.
- Increases in technology use in resident care were associated with lower percentages of residents with new or worsened pressure ulcers.
“Federal incentive funds are going into hospitals and ambulatory care, not nursing homes,” 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.”
Truly, Erudite Nursing Institute™ believes that proper education and management should serve as foundation in achieving better quality care in nursing homes. In valuing technology, the institute believes that these coming advancements could greatly help the condition of our resident patients.
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