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Aging services technologies (AST) can help older adults and people with disabilities achieve and maintain maximum physical function, live as independently as possible and participate in and contribute to society. That’s the conclusion of a new study jointly authored by CAST and NORC, a research organization at the University of Chicago.“Even as the aging of the baby-boomer generation presents a new era of challenges related to public health needs and health-care system pressures, greater availability and adoption of ASTs holds great potential to help address these challenges,” says the report.
The Aging Services Technology Study was mandated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 and its findings are included in a special Report to Congress. That report provides a detailed discussion of ASTs related to 8 care issues facing older people and people with disabilities.
It also identifies barriers to the development and adoption of ASTs and recommends strategies to address those barriers. In particular, the report emphasizes the importance of integrating ASTs and Health Information Technology (HIT) as a way to enhance the quality of clinical care and decision making. “Recent initiatives and policies encouraging the adoption of HIT, coupled with a growing awareness of the importance of both HIT and ASTs, suggest that the next few years may bring new opportunities to leverage these resources for the collective benefit of all stakeholders,” predicts the report.
The study assessed ASTs in 8 care categories:
Lack of awareness among consumers and providers represents an important barrier to the development and adoption of ASTs, according to the CAST-NORC report. In addition, use of ASTs may be limited by concerns about their effectiveness and usability as well as interoperability issues and impact on workflow.The report suggests potential strategies to overcome these barriers, including: