Researchers at the University of Missouri will begin a nationwide study of nursing homes to ascertain which types of information technology impact skilled nursing care the most. Aside from resident care, they also will look at clinical support and administrative activities.
Greg Alexander, associate professor in the university's Sinclair School of Nursing and the lead researcher of this study, had previously studied the use of IT in Missouri nursing homes and recently received a grant of nearly $1 million from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to expand his study. "Our research team will study 10 percent of all U.S. nursing homes’ IT use for the next three years,” he said in a press release. “We will track survey responses each year and analyze how trends in IT adoption levels correlate with nursing home quality measures, such as the number of residents with urinary tract infections, pressure ulcers and pain."
Alexander says the results of this national study—the first in nearly a decade—could lead to the establishment of a benchmark for IT best practices in nursing homes.
He also says that the sophistication level of IT usage by nursing homes should be considered when families choose a facility for their loved ones. "People may not consider IT implementation to be important when searching for a nursing home, but IT certainly impacts the communication between staff and the continuity of care for the patients."