EHR developed for long-term care holds promise

By Molly Merrill
09:50 AM

Researchers from the University of Missouri are developing an electronic health record system aimed at meeting the needs of a population of older adults that's expected to almost double in the next 20 years.

According to the U.S. Administration on Aging, there will be about 72 million older adults living in the U.S. who will require care from a workforce that is already projected to be lacking.

Researchers from MU are currently working on a solution they say may help alleviate some of the burden. They're developing an EHR system that encompasses standard health assessments and those obtained through new technologies. The goal, they say, is to increase efficiency and accuracy, improve patient outcomes and reduce costs for long-term care.

"As the use of emerging technologies increases along with the older population, maintaining complete and accurate patient information can be overwhelming," said Marilyn Rantz, professor in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing. "A comprehensive system that encompasses all measures, old and new, is the key to enhanced and efficient clinical decision making."

The EHR is being tested at TigerPlace, an independent senior-living facility in Columbia, Mo. According to the researchers' initial findings, use of the EHR system can enhance nursing care coordination and advance technology use and clinical research.

"New technologies to passively monitor older adults' health are being developed and are increasingly commercially available," Rantz said. "The challenge remains to integrate clinical information systems with passive monitoring data, especially in long-term care and home health settings, in order to improve clinical decision making and ensure patient records are complete."

Effective EHR systems display data in ways that are meaningful and quickly assessable for clinicians, Rantz said. With access to comprehensive data, clinicians can make more informed clinical decisions, better perform risk assessments and provide risk-reducing interventions.

To read more about what researchers are doing, read the full study published in the Journal of Gerontological Nursing here.

 

Photo of MU EHR courtesy of ChartZoom.com.