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Seniors and science: Better health through technology

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The newly signed Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act calls for new information technologies to be used to better administer care to the sick and elderly. “Health IT,” as it has been called, is set to emerge in many areas of health care.

For example, the new law instructs the Department of Health and Human Services to create state-specific web portals to assist consumers in their search for affordable health insurance coverage options, the so-called exchanges.

In the realm of LTC, the law mandates the development of modernized LTC facilities, which will establish new electronic health records systems and handheld computer technologies to help streamline care. Such centers will also be able to upgrade their computer systems to enable “e-prescribing.”

In an effort to improve care delivery methods, the chronically ill will be able to access a database of care coordinators and a registry of chronic diseases. Those receiving care at home will be able to access home tele-health technologies to assist them in their search for improved health.