Gregory L. Alexander, Ph.D.

Q: During the McKnight’s Fall Expo, you talked about how technology can improve long-term care. How so?

A: The promise of sophisticated IT lies in its ability to transform and achieve certain foundational aims, including safety, effectiveness, patient/family centeredness, timeliness, efficiency, equity and connectedness.

Q: What can hospitals show us?

A: Technology has improved computer charting, care planning, information accessibility and perception of information security in acute care settings. Computerized clinical documentation systems can make a difference in the quality of documentation after implementation of an integrated point-of-care system on hospital nursing units. In other advanced IT research, clinical decision support systems were shown to significantly improve clinical practice when integrated into clinical workflow; systems provided automated reminders to clinical staff; and recommendations associated with computer-based systems were made at the time and location of decision making.

Q: What’s holding things up?

A: Key obstacles preventing development of IT include a lack of funding, ill-defined standards, insufficient data transfer between care settings and the frequent unwillingness of long-term care to invest in electronic records.