Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Nursing Homes and IT

AHRQ is funding a study (K08HS016862-01) to assess the relationship between IT sophistication and nursing home quality. The Sinclair School of Nursing, University of Missouri at Columbia with lead investigator Professor Greg Alexander, has two specific goals. One goal is to compare pressure ulcer quality measures in nursing homes with high IT sophistication versus nursing homes with low IT sophistication. The second goal is to explore strategies to communicate pressure ulcer preventions used in highly sophisticated nursing homes versus nursing homes with low IT sophistication.

According to an April press release by Emily Smith of the MU News Bureau, current levels of IT sophistication in U.S. nursing homes are unknown and the use of IT is minimal. Greg Alexander further reports that while some homes have advanced systems to aid nurses in making treatment decisions, the majority of other nursing homes have minimal levels of technology in place. These nursing facilities need wireless technology to support administrative and financial matters and inpatient self-management.

Alexander wants to see the creation of a national infrastructure for healthcare providers. There is an immediate need to enable the exchange of information between short-term care and long-term care facilities and if technology is used, providers and others will be able to coordinate and transfer work between settings.

The first study “IT Sophistication in Nursing Homes will be published in “Long Term Care Interface”. The second study “Measuring IT Sophistication in Nursing Homes” will be published in AHRQ’s “Advances in Patient Safety.”

For more information, contact Greg Alexander at (573) 882-0277 or email