Studies find 'minimal' use of IT in nursing homes

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Studies find 'minimal' use of IT in nursing homes
Studies find 'minimal' use of IT in nursing homes
Scrutiny of information technology use in nursing homes has been put under a new microscope and the findings are not pretty, researchers say.

"We found many different types of technology being used in nursing homes," said Greg Alexander, professor in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing, who undertook two studies to be published soon on the topic. "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."

Missouri is seen as a microcosm of nursing homes nationwide. Alexander noted that IT sophistication has been studied extensively in acute-care settings, something long-term care providers can expect, especially with policy makers pushing for improvements.

A recent Institute of Medicine report outlined levels technology diversity and maturity expected facilities within two years.

"Initial studies reveal that nursing home administrators have a long way to go before they achieve the goals suggested by the IOM report," Alexander said. "The development of IT profiles is a necessary first step toward benchmarking the best practices of IT use across nursing homes in the United States. The next step is to continue this study in other Midwest states and, eventually, in every state."
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