As Telecare becomes increasingly a component of care models, there must be a shift away from the current emphasis on the technology used to collect and transfer data, toward a focus on the information provided to caregivers and the subsequent actions and outcomes. In response to this need, the Caring Home Initiative, a multi-year, multi-site study that collects evidence on the use of Telecare in real world care environments, was undertaken.
Researchers in each of six current Caring Home Sites are using a common set of instruments: 1) an intake protocol to collect comparable information on each of the clients; 2) the TAO (i.e., “trigger-action-outcome”) web-based data entry system with alert, trend and query forms to record each time information provided by technology is used in care provision; 3) an interview schedule for the actual users of the system and, where possible, a family member of the user; and 4) a questionnaire given to formal caregivers.
The findings of the CHI show that: first the information provided by an integrated Telecare system is reliable, valid and most importantly, timely; second, automated, continuously updated, electronic wellbeing records can be generated by the imPACS (i.e., analytics and decision support) component of the system; and third, the integrated system can also automatically generate continuously updated care delivery records.
The main lesson learned from the CHI is that if the goal of Telecare is to produce a product for use by caregivers, then integration among the three levels—technology, care and informatics—is essential.
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