Use of IT in Nursing Homes Falls Short

<strong>Columbia, Mo. </strong><br />In short-term health care settings, sophisticated information technology systems assist in the diagnosis of patients, support care management and enhance adherence to clinical guidelines. However, current levels of IT sophistication in U.S. nursing homes are unknown. In response to recent efforts from policymakers to integrate IT in long-term health care, a University of Missouri researcher found, through two different studies, that the current level of IT use in Missouri nursing homes is minimal. <br /> <br />&ldquo;IT sophistication has been studied extensively in acute care settings, but until these studies, IT has not been measured in long-term care settings. We found many different types of technology being used in nursing homes,&rdquo; said Greg Alexander, professor in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing. &ldquo;While some homes have advanced systems that aid nurses in making treatment decisions, wireless technology to assist in the delivery of care and systems that support administrative and financial matters and inpatient self-management, the majority of Missouri nursing homes have minimal levels of technology in place.&rdquo; <br /> <br />According to Alexander, most agencies that advocate for wider uses of technology have overlooked nursing homes, despite the growing recognition that a stronger IT infrastructure is needed to address the complex health care needs of nursing home residents and improve the quality of care delivered in these facilities.<br /> <br />Recent concerns about errors in health care and patient safety have prompted policymakers and government committees to recommend the development of technologies to support clinical decision making and promote…


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