The reason for the quotes around the title is that there is a conference coming up on the subject, and below are some comments I added to the discussion thread in preparation for the conference.
As an old IT geek, myself — my wife and business partner is an IT pro, as well, but I’d get hit if I called her an old IT geek 🙂 — now managing a non-medical in-home care agency, we are always thinking about ways that information technology can help our clients.
This is obviously an incredibly important topic, one which we feel is still not fully appreciated by the Healthcare IT, vendor or medical provider communities.
As a former IT Director at Intel, supporting Digital Health and other business groups, the importance of IT for healthcare was easily seen, if more difficult to implement. What was not included in most of the usage models at Intel’s Digital Health and other suppliers in the field, however, was the non-medical home care needs of seniors, folks recovering at home from hospitalization or skilled nursing facilities. These usage models became very clear to us as we founded Support For Home, which provides non-medical in-home care.
For our clients, many of whom have either family caregivers or professional Home Care Aides, the issues are Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Instrumental ADLs, in addition to the interface between the caregiver / Home Care Aide and a Home Health agency (e.g., skilled nursing, PT, OT, ST) and/or other healthcare providers.
Given that few Home Health agencies do shift nursing — and few clients can afford it — having the Healthcare IT products that a non-medical caregiver can assist a client / patient to use is very important. From medication reminders and automated dispensers to cognitive testing, remotely, for dementia, the opportunities for non-medical — but critical to health and healthcare — IT products and services are enormous.