Marrying Technology with Aging

June 24, 2013
The big question of how best to marry technology to a high touch/low tech business was tackled at an Environments for Aging (EFA) conference roundtable moderated by Jon Sanford, M. Arch, director of the Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access at the College of Architecture, Georgia Institute of Technology held on March 21 in Atlanta. The discussion was lively and sprinkled with concerns, admonitions, and positive outlooks.

The big question of how best to marry technology to a high touch/low tech business was tackled at an Environments for Aging (EFA) conference roundtable moderated by Jon Sanford, M. Arch, director of the Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access at the College of Architecture, Georgia Institute of Technology held on March 21 in Atlanta. The discussion was lively and sprinkled with concerns, admonitions, and positive outlooks.

Despite the well-documented benefits of incorporating technology such as electronic health records (EHR), which can consolidate care delivery and provide medication management within a typically multiple drug use population and sensors to support seniors and their desires to be independent and maintain as high a quality of life as possible, are a multitude of technologies that can improve quality of life among the aging population. However, adoption has its hurdles.

Chief among concerns of the care provider, architect, and interior design attendees was staff. It is a serious problem, care providers noted. One such provider reports selective recruiting and hiring practices that target on tech savvy individuals.

But, some attendees worried, does hiring a person with tech skills mean that the industry will lose workers who can relate to the residents? Not at all, was the group's consensus. Technology will never replace the person-to-person care.

Another care provider has found success in training staff with an approach more commonly seen in large, acute care facilities. "Too often we use technology experts to do the training," he said. His strategy is to deliver training by a personable, bright, and technologically competent ER physician who has dedicated time to train staff at multiple facilities across a large geographic region.

One takeaway from the roundtable is that implemented technologies must be perceived as valuable to the user. And this will often require educating end-users, be they staff, residents, or members of a looser-knit senior community. Without understanding the value and how the technology can help them and support their goals to improve their quality of life, both staff and the elderly are likely to resist adoption and use.

Sponsored Recommendations

Clinical Evaluation: An AI Assistant for Primary Care

The AAFP's clinical evaluation offers a detailed analysis of how an innovative AI solution can help relieve physicians' administrative burden and aid them in improving health ...

From Chaos to Clarity: How AI Is Making Sense of Clinical Documentation

From Chaos to Clarity dives deep into how AI Is making sense of disorganized patient data and turning it into evidence-based diagnosis suggestions that physicians can trust, leading...

Bridging the Health Plan/Provider Gap: Data-Driven Collaboration for a Value-Based Future

Download the findings report to understand the current perspective of provider and health plan leaders’ shift to value-based care—with a focus on the gaps holding them back and...

Exploring the future of healthcare with Advanced Practice Providers

Discover how Advanced Practice Providers are transforming healthcare: boosting efficiency, cutting wait times and enhancing patient care through strategic integration and digital...