What Senior Housing Can Learn From Physicians’ Tech Struggles

Leaders in the senior housing space have brought up the issue of overdoing technology to the detriment of the residents, but the same issue can occur for the clinicians working in communities.

As electronic health records (EHRs) in particular have become increasingly common—and critical—in the senior living space, providers could find themselves grappling with some issues that acute care and primary care providers are all too familiar with. Namely, aspects of the technology that can lead to greater burdens on clinicians and reduce time spent with patients.

Physicians use technology every day and are some of the most avid consumers of new tech, from surgical robotics to telehealth treatments, but one area that is a huge struggle for them is EHRs, Michael Tutty, group vice president of professional satisfaction and practice sustainability at the American Medical Association (AMA), said Wednesday during the MedCity Invest conference in Chicago.


Both EHR companies and health care providers need to be aware of the shortcomings of these systems and be smarter about how they are designed and utilized, Tutty explained.

“We still haven’t optimized [EHR] as well as we could be,” he said. “We need to ask are all of the documents just for documents’ sake or is the information being collected really useful?”

Physicians are spending more than double the amount of time doing administrative tasks than they are spending with patients, according to a study done by the AMA.


“Spending that much time on administrative tasks is not a good use of physician time,” Tutty added. “[That many administrative tasks] leads to burnout. We have to make sure technology is being made to be more efficient, not just create more work.”

Though Tutty was not directly speaking of physicians in the senior housing industry, and said that he did not feel familiar enough with senior housing to comment on that setting, clinicians working in communities around the country should not be forgotten. With numerous providers going paperless, there is no doubt that senior housing workers and clinicians need to be more comfortable with technology.

To be efficient with technology, half of the battle will be figuring out which information is worth while collecting and recording.

To cut down on unnecessary time spent doing administrative work, providers in all health care spaces should know that clinicians don’t need to know every little piece of data about a certain patient, said Jack Stockert, managing director at Health2047, a health care technology company similar to an incubator.

“Clinicians want to see larger trends and be alerted when there are abnormalities in a patients’ condition,” Stockert explained. “There is no reason a clinician needs to be reviewing one healthy patient’s blood pressure every single day.”

Written by Alana Stramowski

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