iPhones & Nursing Homes

The iPhone X is scheduled to be available for preorder on October 27th. There are all sorts of new features with the latest phone, the better camera, facial recognition… but this isn’t an advertisement for Apple.

No, what’s really got me thinking about the iPhone X is just the technological advances that are available these days. You have an app for everything, you have a camera that fits in your pocket, you have social media to instantly connect with all those you love and know.

And yet… In a lot of areas, we’re still lacking. As I see all the new tech and gear that comes out, I also see medical centers—and specifically, SNFs—getting left behind. Did you know that $25 billion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was invested in health information technology? And I bet you can guess how much of that affected nursing homes. (The answer is not much at all.) Yet this study from 2016 shows that if nursing home staff have access to the right technological tools, then the quality of care should improve.

Now, this isn’t a new idea of course. There are so many different articles about how technology can and has improved patients care, even those in memory care. iPads can be used for brain training and therapy, using different apps that keep patients engaged. iPods—or rather the music in an iPod—can stimulate patients memories and energize the body. Wearables like the Apple Watch or Fitbits can track how much exercise a patient is getting which can help staff ensure their patients are staying active. And of course, tech that helps with record keeping and analysis means staff members have more time to spend with their patients than filing paperwork.

As we continue to consider the cost of healthcare, we need to consider the cost of leaving healthcare in the dark ages. It’s my belief that the incredible technology we’re surrounded by can improve patients lives, ease the work of doctors and nurses, and overall create a better environment for healing. I hope that more families and patients recognize the need for improved tech and that we as an industry can push for these resources.

What do you think? What impact has the technology (or a lack thereof) had on your residents and business?