Could wearable technology prevent nursing home neglect?

When it comes to using technology to improve patient safety, electronic health records may be only the beginning. According to a recent article, devices worn by patients, or wearable technology, might also be used to transmit vital data to health care professionals. As technology improves, wearing such devices also becomes less intrusive. 

Such technology might allow doctors to diagnose and care for patients remotely, and facilitate earlier diagnoses. The approach, called telemedicine, also may improve communications between patients and doctors, engaging patients in their own health. According to a study by the National Institutes of Health, telemedicine may even reduce the number of hospitalizations, as vital sign or other patient data can be collected remotely, from the comfort of a patient’s home.

Will technology help to improve or even prevent neglect at nursing home and medical facilities? To the extent that access to elderly residents of a nursing home facility is an issue, loved ones might take comfort in technologies that provide around-the-clock monitoring.

Our law firm has helped many clients concerned about nursing home neglect. Neglect, as its name suggests, may result when nursing home staff fail to adequately monitor a patient, or breach the applicable standard of care in any number of ways, perhaps by making mistakes in prescribed medications.

Another upside to wearable technology may be its evidentiary value. Unexplained data, reported by the wearable technology, can prompt an investigation into the type of care that has been provided. Our law firm has stayed at the forefront of using visual technology at trial, and we will continue to use technology to hold nursing home facilities accountable. 

Source: Washington Post, “Policy gets personal: How technology and policy intersect to provide better healthcare,” copyright 2016, Samsung

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