Multi-disciplinary communication networks for skin risk assessment in nursing homes with high IT sophistication

Gregory L. Alexander, Kalyan S. Pasupathy, Linsey M. Steege, E. Bradley Strecker, Kathleen M. Carley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: The role of nursing home (NH) information technology (IT) in quality improvement has not been clearly established, and its impacts on communication between care givers and patient outcomes in these settings deserve further attention. Objectives: In this research, we describe a mixed method approach to explore communication strategies used by healthcare providers for resident skin risk in NH with high IT sophistication (ITS). Methods: Sample included NH participating in the statewide survey of ITS. We incorporated rigorous observation of 8- and 12-h shifts, and focus groups to identify how NH IT and a range of synchronous and asynchronous tools are used. Social network analysis tools and qualitative analysis were used to analyze data and identify relationships between ITS dimensions and communication interactions between care providers. Results: Two of the nine ITS dimensions (resident care-technological and administrative activities-technological) and total ITS were significantly negatively correlated with number of unique interactions. As more processes in resident care and administrative activities are supported by technology, the lower the number of observed unique interactions. Additionally, four thematic areas emerged from staff focus groups that demonstrate how important IT is to resident care in these facilities including providing resident-centered care, teamwork and collaboration, maintaining safety and quality, and using standardized information resources. Conclusion: Our findings in this study confirm prior research that as technology support (resident care and administrative activities) and overall ITS increases, observed interactions between staff members decrease. Conversations during staff interviews focused on how technology facilitated resident centered care through enhanced information sharing, greater virtual collaboration between team members, and improved care delivery. These results provide evidence for improving the design and implementation of IT in long term care systems to support communication and associated resident outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-591
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Informatics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Communication
  • Information technology
  • Nursing home
  • Social network analysis
  • Workflow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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