Using technology to assess older adults in the home setting is still in its infancy and more research is needed to refine these innovations and determine when and how best to use them for these patient populations, said Melissa O’Connor, Ph.D., MBA, RN, FGSA , FAAN, Endowed Professor of Community and Family Health Nursing and Director of the Gerontology Interest Group, M. Louise Fitzpatrick School of Nursing, Villanova University.
Where are the opportunities to use technology to improve at-home assessments?
I believe that the field of using technology to care for the elderly at home is still in its infancy. We haven’t seen anything yet. As I mentioned before, we’re learning more and more that telehealth can reduce hospital readmissions and promote self-care for older adults living at home with chronic conditions.
We need more research, which means we need more funding to support research, not just from a technology development standpoint, but also to learn how best to use that technology to care for older people in the home, such as who Getting ready for discharge and who needs extra time for home healthcare? How can we best triage and prioritize patients, especially as our staff shrinks? Almost every industry in this country is facing staffing shortages, and home health care is certainly no exception.
Therefore, there may be times when a home health agency may need to prioritize who will be seeing when. We need to be evidence-based and learn how to do it. Additionally, Access Patterns: Technology and data mining can help us identify ideal access patterns. One size does not fit all. Individuals need personal care, depending on their chronic disease status, on the social determinants of their health. Do they live alone? Do they have access to medicines and food?
So, in addition to what we currently have, we need research, which is the judgment of the clinician, to help us make these decisions with the patient that will provide them with the greatest benefit and help us contain the cost because of these two things Certainly the key cost to provide the best care.