Aging Services Technologies (ASTs) can—and do—help address a wide range of issues common to the senior population and can effectively reduce the cost of care while improving quality of life, found a report to Congress prepared under the joint leadership of the Office of Disability, Aging and Long-Term Care Policy Department in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services.
Technology, generally speaking, is an indispensable part of modern life, the report notes, and it’s being increasingly used in aging services to assist seniors.
After the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 mandated a study on ASTs, research was contracted to NORC at the University of Chicago and the LeadingAge Center for Aging Services Technologies (CAST), who explored multiple senior care technologies related to care issues relevant to the rapidly aging population.
Some of the issues studied include falls, chronic disease management, medication management, cognitive impairments, and mobility impairments. The outcome of those studies suggests technology’s role in senior care will only grow as healthcare providers seek ways to provide the best quality of care in the most cost-effective manner.
“For a great majority of ASTs, these [study] results provide strong evidence of both clinical and economic benefits, suggesting that specific ASTs can help improve health outcomes, preserve individuals’ ability to continue living independently in the community, improve care coordination, and reduce the cost of care,” write the report’s authors. “In some cases, ASTs can also improve the quality of life of informal caregivers by relieving certain physically and emotionally burdensome caregiving duties, and improve quality of care by increasing providers’ access to accurate, timely, and relevant health information.”
However, in spite of favorable indications for aging services technologies’ place in senior care settings, there are substantial barriers blocking widespread implementation. One of the biggest barriers is a lack of awareness of ASTs, resulting in underutilization among consumers, caregivers, and providers, the report notes.
“Despite these challenges, all of these issues are being addressed gradually as ASTs garner increased attention among consumers, researchers, payers, and policy-makers alike,” it continues.
Click here to access the full report.
Written by Alyssa Gerace