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Barriers to technology adoption in long-term care

March 23, 2010
by anonymous
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Margaret Calkins, PhD, president of IDEAS, presenting at Environments for Aging.10 in Coronado, California, gave attendees seven tips that get in the way of implementing technology in long-term care facilities at a session called Successful Strategies and Barriers to Technology. Those barriers include:

1. Lack of information on what's available

2. Lack of information about the actual size of the long-term care market (there are 16,000 nursing homes, Calkins said, compared to 14,000 McDonald's restaurants in the United States)

3. Perceived (or actual) lack of financial resources

4. Fear of total costs (not just hardware and software costs, but training as well)

5. Liability concerns

6. Regulatory concerns/barriers

7. Staffing-related challenges

Successful strategies for technology adoption include leadership, but the customary top-down model may not work.

"You need to find staff who are interested in technology and can help implement it and encourage other workers that it's not a way to keep tabs on them but rather a way to increase the quality of care," Calkins said.

Calkins also said the industry needs to develop standards for successful technology implementation models and educate providers about successful implementation.

anonymous (not verified)



These are great tips, things we run into every day with long-term care organizations reluctant to pull the trigger on rolling out new technologieseven ones they realize will deliver significant value to the organization.

To me, numbers 3 and 7 are really key. Organizations often feel trapped by budgets that are already locked in, and often can use help in building the business case for investing in technology. I appreciate that Margaret recognizes that lack of financial resources is sometimes a perception, overcome by shifting budget dollars based on priorities or that investments in technology can be offset by increases in revenue or cost savings (or both).

Number seven is a particular challenge. Culture, process and habit and tough to change in long-term care. Even if an existing process is slow, inefficient and unreliable, people will cast a wary eye on new processes and tools to improve it. And I agree that while top-down buy-in and support is key to successfully rolling out a new technology, having tech-savvy champions and leaders among the team helps smooth the transition and adoption of new technologies.