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Caring for the Senior Population Through EHR

August 24th, 2018 - By Deeya Ranjan

In our world of rapidly-evolving technology, even the senior population is benefiting from an array of aging-in-place technologies that enables them to grow old in the comfort of their own homes. If current trends continue, the number of people aged 65 or older in the USA is projected to increase to over 98 million according to the Population Reference Bureau, resulting in a huge number of seniors that will be relying on various types of technology to keep them safe at home. These technologies include various state-of-the-art tools such as emergency medical alert and electronic health record systems (EHRs) that are already becoming increasingly central amidst a fast-expanding senior population. These systems are not only able to activate emergency medical responses when needed but can also help a senior to better control his medication, an aspect of aging that many individuals struggle with.

The importance of effectual medication management for the senior population

Considering that research indicates that more than 41% of seniors have to take more than 5 different medications on a daily basis, it is no wonder that many are unable to keep up with their schedules. There are a number of common problems that present themselves with regard to seniors mismanaging their medication. These include forgetting to take their medication, battling to read the small print on the bottle, taking too much or too little of a specific medication, and forgetting to have their prescriptions filled when needed. Electronic pill dispensers are becoming increasingly popular amongst seniors who need to take a variety of pills daily. These dispensers will flash a light or sound an alarm at dosage time and can even be set to contact a caregiver if a dosage is missed. As effective as these dispensers might be there is another technology that is fast becoming a go-to for seniors needing assistance in keeping abreast of their own medical conditions: Electronic Health Records.

How can an EHR improve a senior’s quality of life?

As people age, it becomes progressively more difficult to remember all their medical information, including what medicines they are taking.  EHRs can help seniors both access and understand their own medical situation while doctors can follow up with their patients while tracking their continuing care. Electronic health records can also prove to be extremely useful in emergency situations as they can provide emergency care providers with critical, life-saving information at the touch of a button. The e-prescription functionality of the EHR is particularly advantageous as it enables doctors to send prescription orders electronically to a home or pharmacy, thus reducing the possibility of prescriptions getting lost or being unfilled.

How exactly do e-prescriptions benefit seniors?

The electronic prescription function of the senior’s EHR allows medical practitioners to check whether the senior fills his prescriptions in a timeous fashion, allowing him to counsel his patients on medication management if they don’t. Doctors also gain valuable insight into the frequency at which patients fill their prescriptions for certain controlled substances, making it easier to identify a possible substance dependency. The e-prescription functionality further affords doctors full visibility of a senior’s allergies and previously prescribed drugs, eliminating the risk of a patient being described as a medication he is allergic to.

Emergency medical alert systems can save a life 

There are a large number of medical alert systems available on the market that can positively impact a senior’s life. Depending on the system that is chosen, the senior may even be able to pick a pendant that is completely waterproof, allowing them to wear it in the bath or shower, two areas of the home that slips and falls commonly occur in.  Apart from allowing seniors living with medical conditions to continue to live independently at home, the systems also allow for constant medical monitoring which provides both the senior and his loved ones with increased peace of mind.  A simple push of a button will put the senior in contact with emergency medical personnel that can activate the required assistance almost immediately. Considering the costs that living in a nursing home or assisted living facility entails, a medical alert system is often seen as a more affordable care option for seniors.

As individuals age, it becomes increasingly important to employ as many methods as needed to ensure they stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible.  By taking full advantage of the various technologies available, seniors can effectively age-in-place, enjoying all the joys of growing old in the comfort and safety of your own home.

Author: Cassie Steele


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