According to the US Census Bureau, by 2030, over 20% of Americans will be over 65. As has been the case throughout the Baby Boomer’s life, we must adapt. Fortunately, technology is keeping up with this generational shift. It’s making long term care (LTC) facilities more efficient and able to skillfully, cost-effectively and compassionately meet the needs of an aging population with fewer hands on deck. Despite this fact, 83% of senior living organizations believe they aren’t investing enough in technology. As this trend continues, facilities are faced with a choice, commit to continual investment in information technology or shutter their buildings. Let’s explore precisely what kinds of investments are needed and how they ensure the future of facilities like yours.
Having the right technology in place in a long term care facility provides immense value to both residents and the facility. For residents, it:
Health information technology accomplishes this by improving patient tracking, automating tedious tasks, alerting staff of irregularities and keeping staff connected to patients. It doesn’t replace people. It helps people work more efficiently.
When long term care facilities invest in information technology, they:
Despite the benefits, many long term care facilities trudge along on paper-based systems, causing delays in communication and inevitably errors. A 2010 study found that only around 39% of surveyed facilities had computers at nursing stations. Many of those who did had outdated technology that created inefficiencies and hampered patient care. While much has improved since then, many facilities are still running in this manner, jeopardizing patients, funding, and their futures.
It all starts with a firm foundation in connectivity, which is making sure that staff can access and update files in real time, conveniently throughout the building, not having to walk all the way back to the nurse’s station. The Internet needs to be fast and capable of handling the demands of the facility. Securing patient data with firewalls, anti-virus, and HIPAA-compliant ePHI management protocols is essential to protect patient privacy as well as your facility from HIPAA non-compliance fines.
Once a facility has this foundation in place and training underway, it’s time to begin investing in more advanced IT:
Investing in information technology is better for patients and long term care organizations. It takes strong leadership, forward-thinking, and commitment to improve the facility’s function through technology, but it also takes an understanding of how to build and an LTC IT infrastructure from scratch. We can help you build a more connected system from the ground up. Contact us to explore your options and learn more.
HitsTech is focused on bringing the right information technology solutions to organizations throughout North Carolina.
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