10 Aging Services Technologies that Belong in Your Organization

by Published On: Jan 19, 2012

Wondering which managerial, operational and resident care technology solutions belong in your organization? CAST Executive Director Majd Alwan recently shared these suggestions with readers of Long-Term Living magazine:

  1. Intuitive computer interfaces: Touchscreens and graphic user-interfaces “have made computing devices accessible not only to frontline staff that might not have the same computer competencies and skills as administrators and RNs, but to older adults who are even less familiar with computer technologies,” says Alwan.
  1. Wireless data communication networks: These networks have spurred the development of mobile computing and point-of-care systems that have “severed the tether, allowing (you) to carry the devices, roam around and have access to data … not only within the facility but anywhere you have similar wireless coverage,” says Alwan.
  1. Electronic health record (EHR) systems: EHRs provide complete information about residents, as well as their needs and preferences. These electronic records can reduce medication errors when they are coupled with e-prescribing, physician electronic order entry, clinical decision support, and electronic medication administration systems.
  1. Electronic records sharing: Interoperability standards enable providers of long-term services and supports to electronically share residents’ health records with hospitals and physicians. “This is extremely important for the elderly, particularly around transitions of care,” says Alwan.
  1. Telemedicine/telehealth: Telemedicine and telehealth facilitate consultations via videoconferencing, transmission of still images, remote monitoring of vital signs, continuing medical education, consumer-focused wireless applications and nurse call centers. “Telehealth can be exciting, particularly if health care professionals are properly incentivized or reimbursed for the time required to review the data and recommend an appropriate course of action,” says Alwan.  
  1. Behavioral/activity monitoring systems: These systems allow caregivers to monitor resident behavior and activities and note a decline in health well before a resident becomes symptomatic.   
  1. Fall prevention/detection systems: Bed and chair alarms, and user-worn automatic fall detectors, have the potential to “reduce rescue time, reduce the severity of the ensuing injury and improve the outcome of a fall.”
  1. Tracking/wander management systems: A number of technologies address wandering management through use of radio-frequency transmitters, RFID (radio-frequency identification) devices or GPS (global positioning system) and cellular signal-based tracking systems. “You need to balance the safety of the individual and the concern of the caregiver with the privacy of the individual,” says Alwan.
  1. Medication adherence systems: Electronic Medication Administration Records (eMAR) are usually software systems that staff uses to ensure and document medication compliance among residents. Automated medication dispensers are designed for older adults who can take medications on their own with some assistance.   
  1. Brain and physical fitness technologies: “Thanks to intuitive user interfaces, touchscreens, graphical user interfaces, accelerometer controllers and the like, these technologies provide hours of entertainment and fun activities that have or may have a therapeutic benefit for residents,” says Alwan.

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