Health information technology (HIT) has been promoted over the past decade as a way to improve health care quality and efficiency and potentially as a way to reduce costs. Long-term care facilities, however, have lagged behind other providers in the adoption of HIT, and there is a lack of evidence on the effects of HIT in such settings. It is particularly important to ensure that HIT does not create unintended negative consequences for nursing home residents.
This study evaluated the effects of HIT implementation on nursing home residents, in terms of clinical outcomes as well as resident satisfaction. It was conducted in 10 nursing homes in New York City and surrounding suburbs.
With respect to outcome measures, the introduction of HIT had no statistically significant impact on residents, except for an increase in disruptive behaviors. Residents’ subjective assessments of the HIT intervention were generally positive.
The authors see the absence of negative effects on most indicators as encouraging for future use of HIT in nursing homes. The lack of negative outcomes in areas like mortality, falls, and satisfaction with care indicate the intervention does not unintentionally harm residents. However, with no measurable improvement in patient condition, claims of clinical benefits for residents should be tempered.