Technology for Long-Term Care: 4 IT Challenges and Solutions
The healthcare sector is set up to benefit from recent advances in technology. From online chat forums making it easier for patients to access medical advice at home, to apps that track heart rates in between medical appointments, the potential is vast.
What we want to look at today is long-term care facilities, and how modern IT can help overcome the unique challenges that lay ahead.
When it comes to technology for long-term care, there’s enormous opportunity to improve the quality of life for long-suffering patients. To help achieve this goal, you need to have the right foundations in place, and the right IT infrastructure in particular – which is where we can help.
The challenges facing long-term care facilities
Long-term care facilities offer services to help people live as independently and safely as possible, including those with both short and long-term health conditions. Long-term care services can be provided both at patients’ homes and at facilities such as nursing homes.
Technology is rapidly transforming the sector. Today, long-term care facilities are beginning to rely on a wide range of new and emerging technologies. These include Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems, medication tracking, fall and motion sensors, and resident Wi-Fi. It becomes critical for health and safety that these technologies are built upon a reliable IT infrastructure and are supported by experts that can guarantee that they run smoothly.
Due to a rapidly ageing population, the support provided by long-term care is more important than ever; yet, the sector faces a long list of challenges and obstacles to overcome regarding technology, including:
- Upgrading old, slow and unreliable IT infrastructure
- The threat of cybercrime
- Strict regulation around patient data
- Outdated employee communication and productivity tools
Technology for long-term care
We will discuss the four challenges outlined above and highlight where the latest IT services and solutions can help:
Outdated IT infrastructure
Many long-term care facilities have old, slow and unreliable IT infrastructure. This means that day-to-day functionality can fail, putting patient safety at risk. When systems are slow or break down entirely, the downtime can restrict the speed and efficiency that staff can care for patients. The maintenance cost of these old systems is significantly higher than newer, cloud-based versions.
Moving to the cloud can benefit organizations in numerous ways. It is significantly better value for money, requires less maintenance, offers flexibility, provides access to the latest updates, and is secure against cybercrime. What’s more, it is only from the foundation of cloud-based infrastructure that long-term care facilities can move forward in the digital age. Find out more on cloud-based IT solutions and services here.
The cybersecurity landscape has changed a lot in recent years. The threat is as significant as ever before and is reported to only get worse. Healthcare organizations are at the front-line of this battle – with some reports suggesting that the healthcare industry experiences twice as many cyberattacks as others.
Cybercriminals target healthcare organizations for several reasons:
- An abundance of highly sensitive patient data
- Healthcare organizations tend to have relatively unsophisticated cybersecurity measures
It is essential for long-term care facilities to update their cybersecurity and strengthen their defenses against cyber-attacks, given the risks are so high – as seen in the UK last year with the WannaCry attacks. You can learn more about cybersecurity solutions here.
Increased regulation around patient data
From 2009 to 2017, the US healthcare sector has seen an unprecedented increase in data breaches – there have been 2,181 breaches involving over 500 records. In recent years this has started to improve. 2017 saw a significant improvement – the best year since 2012. The reason for this is that healthcare organizations have improved their data handling practices, due largely to the significant data regulations introduced, such as the HITECH and HIPAA acts.
Long-term care facilities need to train their employees on how to handle data securely. They also need to invest in infrastructure that can help power the latest EMR systems. Learn more about improving IT infrastructure here.
Long-term care facilities are confronted by several challenges that can be – at least partially – overcome by offering employees the latest cloud-based productivity tools. From low staffing, to employee turnover and employee communication, technology can help. All these areas were highlighted as some of the biggest challenges in long-term care at the 2017 ANNAC Conference.
Cloud-based communication and collaboration apps can help staff connect with each other, communicate and access the information they need to provide a greater level of care to patients. What’s more, these tools can make a demanding and often stressful job easier. Technology can help share the burden of such a vital service. But first, an IT infrastructure built upon safe and sound IT needs to be established. Learn more about collaboration and productivity tools here.
How Worksighted can help
To offer the best care for their patients, long-term care facilities must embrace and adopt new technology. Streamlined, up-to-date, cloud-based IT infrastructure is essential for this.
We offer specialized technology for long-term care facilities across the state of Michigan. We offer both Managed IT services and Professional IT services. The best way to find out what approach is for you is to get in touch with us today.
To find out more about Worksighted and how IT upgrades can help long-term care organizations solve some of the most pressing challenges they face, get in touch with us now.