Long Term Care Computer Systems

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.

How Health Information Technology Improves Patient Care

Having the right technology in place in a long term care facility provides immense value to both residents and the facility. For residents, it:

  • Prevents medical errors that may cause pain and suffering
  • Allows each resident to receive more personalized care when they need it
  • Improves the daily life of residents

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.

How Health Information Technology Reduces Costs & Waste

When long term care facilities invest in information technology, they:

  • Increase administrative efficiency
  • Reduce mindless “busy work”, in which accuracy is often important, but monotony makes people tune out and make mistakes
  • Cut waste in the form of duplication of labor, medical errors, inventory waste, etc.
  • Lower liability risk because everyone is on the same page and each patient is getting the right care
  • Save money. A well-designed system cuts costs by streamlining processes.

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 Many of those who did had outdated technology that created inefficiencies and hampered patient care.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.

Improving Quality of Life Through Connected Care

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.

IT Services For Long Term Care

Once a facility has this foundation in place and training underway, it’s time to begin investing in more advanced IT:

  • Enhanced security monitoring of common areas through controlled access, cameras, RFID badges, etc.
  • Inclusiveness technology that allows residents to engage with each other, medical professionals, and staff remotely from their rooms to reduce feelings of isolation and ensure access to care when needed. Conduct resident meetings, stream a resident event throughout the building, do virtual check-ins, and more.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) are everyday devices that are connected to a system through an intranet. For example, IoT technology can be used to track vital signs, sleep patterns, how much residents are moving, and more.
  • Through machine learning, IoT devices can predict health concerns early and identify patterns that are out of the ordinary for patient. The great thing is that IoT doesn’t have to be a big, scary looking device. Most IoT is small and look like everyday things. All of this information becomes a part of the medical record for review during checkups.
  • Smart buildings, which help you control things like lights and environment remotely to enhance comfort as well as alerting personnel when someone has fallen, is still in the common area at lights out.

Long-Term Care Facilities Can Invest in Information Technology

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.

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HitsTech is focused on bringing the right information technology solutions to organizations throughout North Carolina.
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