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Putting Technology to Work in the Care Process

January 2017
Author: Lisa Ellis

One of the many significant changes in the healthcare field in recent years is the integration of technology in new and exciting ways. While the latest IT developments bring a variety of benefits to patients of all ages, it’s perhaps the aging population with chronic health concerns who get the most out of the healthcare technology available today.

Some of the latest innovations that are making a difference for older Americans include:

Electronic Health Records. When integrated smoothly into existing facilities and systems, these provide an important tool for healthcare providers to share information among locations and practices and to extend care into the community seamlessly. This ensures that patients will receive coordinated care and will be better educated to make their own treatment decisions.

Mobile Care. The model of care delivery is moving outside of the physical hospital or physician’s office walls to take place directly where people live and work. This means that older folks with limited mobility will be able to access medical care through their computers or smartphones. In addition to providing easier access, mobile care offers new ways to monitor symptoms and problems more closely. Some healthcare providers are even sending text messages to remind older patients to take their medicines, stay active, and watch their weight.

Apps. There are many apps available today for smartphones and other hand-held devices that allow people to plan balanced diets; access nutritional information; locate the best food options in grocery stores; track their vital signs; learn about medicine options, risks, and side effects; locate clinical trials; and connect with other people to share information, ask questions, and provide support for each other. This empowers patients to become more knowledgeable about their health and their options.

Wearable Technologies. In the past few years, there have been great advances in exciting wearable tools that can be used to track activity levels, monitor vital signs, and more. Wearable technologies put more information and better control into the hands of patients young and old.

Connectivity. One of the biggest challenges facing older people is the danger of isolation, but the latest technologies are making it easier for the aging population to stay connected. In fact, many seniors are able to continue to exercise their minds thanks to an array of popular games and tools they can access online. Seniors can also access the latest news and information remotely and can stay in touch with family and friends via popular social media sites. All of these technology options encourage the older generation to keep their minds and bodies strong and active.

When designers incorporate these and other technologies into facility designs and delivery of care models, they help to ensure healthier and higher-quality lives for everyone as our population ages.

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