SOURCE: Center for Technology and Aging

Center for Technology and Aging

January 05, 2010 22:20 ET

Center for Technology and Aging's First-Ever Technology Diffusion Grants Will Help Older Adults Better Use Their Medications

OAKLAND, CA--(Marketwire - January 5, 2010) - The Center for Technology and Aging today announced grants to five organizations for projects that promise to help improve medication use in older adults with chronic health conditions. Each project involves the use of one or more technologies in a coordinated effort with patients, families and caregivers -- such as pharmacists, home health agency staff, and physicians -- to help improve the independence of older adults as well as to avoid medication-related issues that potentially result in harm, hospitalization or higher health care costs.

"These projects will help broaden the adoption of important technologies that make a huge difference in the quality of life for older adults who rely on medications to manage chronic conditions," said David Lindeman, PhD, director of the Center for Technology and Aging. "The numbers are surprising -- but helping older adults use medications appropriately could save the nation hundreds of billions of dollars every year." Over 90% of older adults use one or more medications per week, over 40% take five or more medications, and 12% use 10 or more medications per week.

Medication optimization refers to a wide variety of technologies designed to help manage medication information, dispensing, adherence and tracking. The grantees, their technologies, and programs are:

--  Caring Choices (www.caring-choices.org) - The Philips Medication
    Dispensing Service technology for medication adherence management will be
    introduced to four home health and senior living organizations in four
    rural and urban areas of California.
    
--  Veterans Administration of Central California Health Care System
    (www2.va.gov/directory/guide/facility.asp?id=53) - Remotely located
    internists and allied health professionals in five central California rural
    and medically underserved counties will expand the use of the Health
    Buddy® system as well as weight scales, blood pressure monitors,
    assessment algorithms and clinician alerts for medication adherence
    management (including self-management) of home-based heart failure
    patients.
    
--  Visiting Nurse Service of New York (www.vnsny.org) - Visiting nurses in
    four Boroughs of New York City will expand the use of medication complexity
    algorithms, counseling support tools, electronic health records (EHR) and
    point-of-care computers for medication management of community dwelling,
    cognitively impaired older adults with chronic illness and complex
    medication regimens.
    
--  Connecticut Pharmacists Foundation (www.ctpharmacists.org) - Community
    health workers and remotely located pharmacists in Long Beach, CA,
    Connecticut and Western Massachusetts will use videoconferencing,
    electronic health records (Khmer Health Associates' CIMS© software;
    Assurance Pharmaceutical Care System©), and spoken format technology for
    culturally appropriate medication therapy management of Cambodian-American
    older adults.
    
--  American Society of Consultant Pharmacists Foundation
    (www.ascpfoundation.org) - Pharmacists will use Monitor-Rx, a web-based
    patient medication assessment tool, to optimize the medication regimens of
    older adults seen in Irvine, CA.
    

Each organization plans to reach between 100 and 200 individuals and has established measurable improvement goals, such as: increased medication compliance, enhanced quality of life, fewer hospitalizations or emergency room visits, documented cost savings, or more efficient provider practice patterns.

"One of the Center's goals is to assure that funded projects aren't 'one and done,' but are designed to be replicated," said Lindeman. "Each grantee has identified ways to make sure their project can continue beyond the one-year grant period, can be broadly adopted by others, and is integrated within our long-term care system."

The five grants total $477,000 and range from $92,000 to $100,000. The grantees are supplementing grant funding with a total of over $520,000 in matching funds.

Details of each project, including target population, technologies, project settings, collaborators, 12-month goals, replication/dissemination plan, sustainability plan, and matching funding, as well as the Center's Medication Optimization Position Paper, are available at the Center's Web site (www.techandaging.org).

The Center for Technology and Aging is devoted to helping California and the nation more rapidly implement technologies that improve home and community-based care for older adults. Through research, grants, public policy involvement, and development of practical implementation tools, the Center serves as a resource for all those seeking to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of long-term care services. It was established in 2009 with a generous grant from The SCAN Foundation (www.thescanfoundation.org) and is located at the Public Health Institute (www.phi.org) in Oakland, CA.

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