The news: The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine released a report on the state of nursing homes in the US. It reveals the shortcomings of US nursing home operations. This is the first time the National Academies did a deep dive on the state of nursing homes since 1986.
The report identified major shortcomings plaguing nursing homes:
1. Nursing home care delivery operations are inefficient, ineffective, and unsustainable.
2. The quality of care in nursing homes is low. This puts nursing home residents at risk of poor health outcomes.
3. There isn’t enough financial or operational support for nursing homes.
Zooming out on the problem: The pandemic revealed just how US nursing homes were falling short of providing quality care. It highlighted inadequate staffing, poor infection control, and regulatory and oversight failures. These all led to patient harm.
Nursing home residents had disproportionately higher rates of COVID-19 infection than other demographics.
Why it matters: Over 1.3 million US adults reside in 15,000+ nursing homes in the US. As the senior population grows, the demand for long-term care will also rise. Nursing homes will need to be able to effectively handle greater capacity.
Where digital health comes in: Government entities will need to allocate financial resources to make improvements. We detail three digital health investments that could offer a high ROI for nursing homes.
1. AI algorithms that detect and prevent infections before they become deadly.
2. Nurse staffing platforms can address the nursing shortage.
3. Remote patient monitoring solutions can help reduce spending on staff and supplement clinical workflows.
For example, connected RPM devices like noninvasive sensors and medical grade smartwatches can help provide consistent health data and insights to nursing home staff. In turn, that can be used to provide better quality, timely care.