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HIT in Long-term Care

Health Information Technology Application in Long Term Care:
A Pilot Study in Texas

This project is sponsored by an internal grant from the Texas Long Term Care Institute at Texas State University. The project funding amount is $10,000.

Significance Long term care providers care for the fastest-growing segment of the population and account for a high proportion of the health care dollars spent. The patients in long term care experience frequent transitions. The frequent transitions may create gaps in quality and opportunities for error. How to improve the efficiency in long term care is an important question. Health Information Technology (HIT) has the potential to reduce errors and improve quality of care. HIT is not a new concept to long term care. Since the late 1990s, health IT functions have been integrated among long-term care providers. The long term care providers can “achieve an increase of 37% in administrative productivity” by using HIT systems. However, long term care is considered lagging behind in adopting HIT. Part of the reason is because current research focuses more on acute and ambulatory care and long term care suffers from relative inattention. To alleviate the gap of lagging behind, and take the advantages of the recent economic stimulate package of “Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, some states have conducted state-wide survey on HIT situation in long term care. In Texas, this kind of research is still blank. This research will identify the benefits and barriers in HIT adoption, help the policy makers in Texas to understand the situation of HIT adoption and utilization in long term care, and create a sustainable long term care HIT collaborative in Texas.

Research Questions Based on the research conducted in California and Minnesota, we propose a survey of long term care providers to explore three questions. (1) What is the current state of HIT planning and adoption in long term care? (2) How do providers invest in HIT and manage its implementation? What are the perceived benefits and barriers? (3) What should providers and stakeholders know and do to support HIT adoption and successful use in long term care?

Progress The investigators have conducted state-wide survey by mailing questionnaires. Over a hundred responses were received. Currently, data cleaning work is in process.

Dr. Tiankai Wang, Principle Investigator