It’s time to encourage the use of health informatics by nursing homes: study

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When it comes to communicating electronically with external clinical partners, most nursing homes aren’t yet in the know, according to a survey by investigators from the Columbia School of Nursing. This mismatch may affect resident care, the researchers say.

Their study examined the level of adoption of health information technology (HIT) in 719 skilled nursing facilities in the United States using federal data. Participants rated their HIT maturity on nine subscales, including HIT abilities, extent of HIT use, and degree of HIT integration into resident care, clinical support, and administrative activities. Each facility’s HIT maturity stage was scored from 0 (no HIT) to 6 (residents or their caregivers could use the system to generate clinical data and drive self-management).

More than two-thirds (68%) of facilities were unable to communicate electronically with staff at other facilities, including outpatient clinics, laboratories or pharmacies, according to survey results. The researchers also found that levels of adoption of HITs were likely to be higher in larger nursing homes. The number of certified beds and facility location were associated with HIT maturity.

They hypothesized that structural disparities could be due to inadequate infrastructure, unavailability of skilled labor and lack of financial resources.

“This lack of connectivity can result in reduced levels of electronic data sharing, leading to gaps in care delivery, substandard care coordination activities, and poorer resident outcomes,” the researchers noted in JMIR Aging, where they encouraged national leaders to encourage the adoption of HITs.
“It is crucial that we begin to systematically identify a way to address these disparities, first by increasing transparency and public reporting on trends in HIT maturity of nursing homes in the United States, and then by implementing implement national policies to level these deficits,” the research team concluded. not

Excerpt from the November 2022 issue of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News

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