A group of professionals got together recently -- and they identified some can't-miss trends for any healthcare provider in long term care or who cares for older populations.
The Presidents' Council of Advisors on Science and Technology is an advisory group of the nation's leading scientists and engineers. They are appointed by the President to augment the science and technology advice available to him from inside sources, thus influencing policy. And they recently created a report on technology and older age: Independence, Technology and Connection in Older Age. It is the second of two reports to the President about the topic of technology and graceful aging. The first was about technology for hearing assistance. Three areas are examined: social engagement, cognitive function, and physical ability.
The 9 findings of the report that we think are most important for every provider to know:
- Caregivers are critical in technology adoption and use.
- Technology supports older adults who remain in the workforce by choice or necessity.
- There is cross support from those with disabilities.
- There are many products available, for instance 24,000 assistive devices and 1200 products for long-term care.
- Mobile devices are especially crucial for the care and support of older populations and in long-term care. (It is clear that mobile devices are increasingly woven into the fabric of our daily lives, irrespective of age. Just ask someone over 50 if they have grandchildren and see how quickly they get their smartphone out of their pocket to show just how cute their grandkids really are.)
- Technology can support specialty consultations in being obtained. (PCAST notes store-and-forward for scans and medical images, but fail to see the bigger picture of rich multimedia communication.).
- Home monitoring allows earlier intervention as well as earlier hospital discharge.
The report also identifies some important barriers to the use of technology for older populations and in long-term care, including:
- Technology needs social and human support.
- Professional licensure is a barrier.
- Reimbursement is a barrier but is changing with each legislative cycle.
- Broadband is a prerequisite.
We have faced these challenges and have both technology and workflow solutions to them. That's actually why The Federal Telemedicine Working Group led by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) gave iClickCare early support. They believed that iClickCare uniquely had the potential (and we will argue still uniquely) to be self sustaining based on its directness and simplicity.
Ultimately, we believe deeply in the power of technology -- specifically, telemedicine-supported healthcare collaboration -- and we believe that obstacles can be overcome.
That said, of all of the challenges identified, we believe that social and human support is the most challenging and the most deserving of investment and study.
It is "easier" to cheat and risk HIPAA fines; it is "easier" to do nothing; it is "easier" to avoid change. The opportunity is to support people in investing in what's slightly less easy in the short term, but infinitely easier and better overall.
We're happy to talk with you to explore whether telemedicine could be a powerful tool in your organization -- just set a time with us here: