Long-Term Health Care Technology
According to Dr. Alice Vestergaard, Ashford University's program director for the college of Arts and Sciences, assistance technologies have fostered a new era in long-term health care, particularly for the country's aging population.
Long-term care technology includes seven main categories:
1. Enabling Technology or Assisted Technology – includes devices and equipment that enable people to live independently in spite of disabilities or impairments. Devices include hearing aids, automatic reminder systems, talking devices and medical self-monitoring equipment.
2. Safety Technology – encompasses Personal Emergency Response Systems used to summon help, including signals, alarms and wireless transmitters that monitor and detect changes, provide peace of mind and call for help.
3. Caregiving Technology – includes feeding and nutrition delivery systems, such as in-home kidney dialyzers and beds that integrate technology to monitor patients.
4. Labor-Saving Technology – involves systems for patient lifting and transfer, bathing and convertible dining to increase worker efficiency and reduce injuries. The eHealth Electronic Medical Record also replaces manual patient charting.
5. Environmental Technology – uses products, goods and services that enhance the safety of living environments such as fabrics and materials resistant to fire, soil, odor and bacteria.
6. Staff Training Technology – offers staff and allied health workers needed training on the use of new devices, equipment and materials through CD-ROMs, webcasts and podcasts.
7. Information Technology – deals with the use of data in health care environments, including electronic medical records, payroll, accounting and billing, and analytical and performance management tools.
Dr. Alice Vestergaard is an internationally recognized author, educator and leader in aging and long-term care. Ashford University has added a long-term care specialization to its Health and Human Services bachelor's degree program and a long-term care management specialization to its Health Care Administration and Health Care Studies bachelors degree program.