The Use of Health Information Technology to Improve Care and Outcomes for Older Adults

In a commentary in Research in Gerontological Nursing, Kathryn Bowles and colleagues look at how nurse scientists are using health information technology, such as electronic health records (EHR) and decision support, to improve care. They highlight positive research findings, including that integrated EHR systems reduced hospital-acquired pressure ulcers by 13 percent. Or how the use of a discharge decision support system helped to identify whether older adults were likely to need post-acute services, such as skilled home care or skilled nursing facility care. Use of the system, which is based on an algorithm analyzing how a patient answers a series of questions, achieved a 26% relative reduction in both 30- and 60-day readmissions. The article includes suggestions on how gerontological nurses can make best use of health IT and outlines future challenges that can be addressed with adoption and implementation research.