Rural Nursing Homes Lagging Behind in Information Technology
In the first national assessment of nursing homes since 2004, researchers have found a significant difference in health information technology use between nursing homes in urban and rural communities which may have an impact on patient care. The study by the University of Missouri found that nursing homes located in metropolitan areas had greater IT laboratory capabilities for resident registration and admission along with having a better ability to conduct and verify medical tests than their rural counterparts. “Previous studies demonstrate that IT sophistication can improve health outcomes for patients, such as reducing hospitalizations,” Greg Alexander, professor at the Sinclair School of Nursing, said in a press release. “The benefits of IT sophistication do not differ based on geography; however, in this national assessment, we found a significant gap in IT sophistication between rural and urban areas.”
This gap in health IT could have implications for patient care because rural nursing homes would have less capacity to share information with hospitals to allow for high-quality transitions in care, according to researchers.
David Wingate is an elder law attorney at the Elder Law Office of David Wingate, LLC. The elder law office services clients with powers of attorneys, living wills, Wills, Trusts, Medicaid and asset protection. The Elder Law office has locations in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland.