Technology Does Not Necessarily Improve NH Care According to Residents

A new study suggests that comprehensive health information technology (HIT) does not lead to any measurable positive or negative effects on the health outcomes of elderly nursing home residents.ξ
The study evaluated the impact of implementing a comprehensive HIT system on resident clinical, functional, and quality of care outcome indicators as well as measures of resident awareness of and satisfaction with the technology.ξ
Directly assessing 761 nursing home residents in 10 urban and suburban nursing homes in the greater New York City area, researchers found no statistically significant impact of the introduction of HIT on residents.
  • 60% of residents said they noticed no change in their care, but 30% said they felt care had improved (vs. about 7% that said it had declined).
  • Residents also voiced favorable reactions toward electronic record-keeping platforms such as mobile phones.
  • Seventy-one percent of residents said they believed that handheld devices improve care, and 73% said they are glad staff use handheld devices to track and manage their care.
The team of investigators, from Weill Cornell Medical College, Columbia University Stroud Center and the New York State Psychiatric Institute, said that the absence of positive or negative effects from HIT usage with residents is encouraging.ξ
There are two issues here. One is the resident’s perception of technology, which seems to be favorable. So therefore a facility that is adopting such technology could have a perceived marketing advantage. Much like hospitals that tout their robotic technology. What is not revealed is whether there was any clinical improvement as a result of technology. This study would suggest not.

From a consumer viewpoint, a facility that is investing in HIT, whether it clinically has been proven or not, also sends a message that it values resident care and is continuously trying to improve. Ask about their adoption of technology if shopping for mom or dad.